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Vitamin D3 Found to Be Better than Vitamin D2

The relative bioavailability of vitamin D2 versus vitamin D3 has been an area of intense debate within the scientific and medical communities. Now a new study by researchers at Creighton University has found that vitamin D3 is 87% more potent at raising blood levels of vitamin D.

The results of the study were published in the January, 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Vitamin D can be found in two forms, vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). They are biologically inactive compounds that are transformed in the liver and kidneys into either the biologically active form of vitamin D or the non-active storage form of vitamin D.

Vitamin D2 is made by plants and fungus and is often included in fortified foods such as orange juice, milk and cereals. Vitamin D3 is formed when the body synthesizes sunlight.

With their study, the researchers sought to clarify which form of the vitamin is more effectively utilized by the human body.

33 healthy adults with an average age of 49.5 were recruited to participate in the study. They were assigned to receive weekly doses of either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 for 12 weeks.

At the end of the 12 week supplementation period, they found that blood levels of vitamin D increased significantly more in the D3 group than in the D2 group. Specifically, vitamin D3 was 56- 87% more potent than vitamin D2 at raising blood serum levels of vitamin D.

Based on these results, the researchers feel that vitamin D3 should be the form of the vitamin prescribed to correct vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D has been shown to boost muscle and bone health, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and even boost your mood. If you need to increase your vitamin D intake, consider getting more exposure to sunlight, or taking a high quality supplement.

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