Vitamin D vs D3

Vitamin D3 Is A Hormone-Vitamin D Is Not

Science tells us that bioactive vitamin D3 or calcitriol (better known as cholecalciferol) is a steroid hormone that has long been known for its important role in regulating body levels of calcium and phosphorus, and in the mineralization of bone. Here, on this page, you will learn the importance and difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3-why D3 is superior to vitamin D2!

In reality, the term vitamin D is technically incorrect. What we have, instead, is a group of steroid molecules. Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol is generated in the skin when sunlight is absorbed by the precursor molecule, 7-dehydrocholesterol.

Vitamin D vs D3 And Calcium

Vitamin D's most important effect is to support intestinal absorption of calcium, although it also stimulates absorption of phosphate and magnesium ions-microscopic molecules. Recently, it has become clear that vitamin D receptors are more abundant, involving many more cells-knowledge that changes the former paradigm.

Now, it is understood that this hormone has much greater biological effects than just the control of mineral metabolism-one example would be that of assisting in the control of hypertension.

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Vitamin D vs D3 And Sunshine

In a perfect world, individuals with adequate exposure to sunlight would not require dietary supplementation of vitamin D3. However, people are now taught that "sunlight causes cancer" leading them to believe that the level of sunlight needed to have a sufficient amount of vitamin D, is no longer safe.

Also, in certain places around the globe, in the Winter, it can be very difficult to obtain enough sunlight. This presents a serious and worrisome problem. People are now afraid of the sun, especially the elderly.

People with a vitamin D deficiency can have serious health problems. One of these more serious problems is high blood pressure, which could lead to heart problems and even premature death.

Vitamin D vs D3-The Diet Connection

Dietary sources of vitamin D, include egg yolk, fish oil and a number of different vegetables. "Vitamin D2 is only about 20-40% as effective as D3 in maintaining serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, since it is more rapidly broken down in the body....

For this reason, vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol supplements are considered more beneficial than vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol supplements."* Without enough dietary vitamin D3, your body will not absorb appropriate amounts of calcium very well and this can lead to osteoporosis, as well as severe joint pain.

Low levels of vitamin D weaken the immune system, as well. This posits a direct link with the diseases of ageing to that of a vitmain D deficiency. The elderly are cautioned by their doctors, because of their fear of skin cancer, to stay out of the sun.

However, one just needs to be careful of when and how long they are exposed to the sun. 20 to 30 minutes is all that is needed in the late morning or early afternoon. Allow the entire body to receive the exposure of the sun's ultraviolet B rays.

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* Holick MF. The vitamin D epidemic and its health consequences. J Nutr. 2005 Nov;135(11):2739S-48S.

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