It’s right around the corner! Fall is here and the temp’s dropping. It’s going to become a little less comfortable to sunbathe outside, BUT Vitamin D is easy to supplement almost seamlessly into your daily routine.
But which form of Vitamin D is best for you, specifically?
We’ve got you covered, there:
There are two forms, Vitamin D2 and D3, that you should know about. The following FAQ about Vitamin D nutritional supplements is a good place to start; your holistic health practitioner can answer more specific questions about your individualized needs.
What is the difference between the two forms of Vitamin D, D2 and D3?
Vitamin D can mean either Vitamin D2, Vitamin D3 or a combination of both. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is found naturally in sun-exposed mushrooms, fortified foods and dietary supplements. Vitamin D3 can be found in oily fish, liver, egg yolk, butter and dietary supplements. Humans can make Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) when exposed to the sun so it is considered the most “natural” form. If there’s not enough sunlight exposure, there won’t be enough natural Vitamin D produced in the body and supplementation will be needed.
Which form of Vitamin D should I take?
Both types seem to raise blood levels of Vitamin D, however, research currently indicates that D3 is superior to D2 in raising levels as it works more quickly and efficiently in the body. More extensive research is needed to ascertain if this holds true across all populations of people (age, sex at birth, skin tone, and lifestyle habits).
At this time, the form of Vitamin D recommended by medical associations does not distinguish between D2 or D3. However, research literature indicates that D3 is superior and it is the form usually suggested by holistic health practitioners. Some, but not all, manufacturers will identify which form is present in a supplement. It is possible that taking a combination of D2 and D3 may be appropriate for some people but this is a conversation to have with your practitioner.
Something that not everyone knows is that K2 is important to have with Vitamin D3. (There are D3 supplements out there that already have K2 added.) K2 is a navigator for calcium to make sure it ends up where it should in the body, and greatly helps mitigate unnecessary calcium build up in places where it shouldn’t be. Improper calcium buildup can show up in the body as stiffness in tissues and in fluid-moving vessels.
How much Vitamin D should I take?
The answer to this question varies by age, stage of life (infancy, childhood, teens, adult years, older adult years), sun exposure, skin tone, and by health status. The National Institutes of Health has not adjusted Vitamin D recommendations in a very long time. Holistic health practitioners, and a growing number of conventional medicine physicians, recommend much higher doses than the 600 iu daily that is currently suggested. At a minimum, 2,000 iu and up to 5,000 iu daily is what is suggested. There is evidence that higher doses are also needed during an acute illness (a cold or flu). Again, this will vary by the factors already mentioned, as well as how much natural sun exposure you receive each day. Speak to your functional nutritionist about how much you specifically need.
Can I take too much Vitamin D?
Yes, you can take too much Vitamin D and the effects of this are significant. Vitamin D toxicity can cause blood calcium to spike, resulting in a condition called hypercalcemia. This can cause dizziness, fatigue, palpitations, confusion, nausea, vomiting and painful GI tract symptoms. Although D toxicity is rare, it is something to be careful about. Always let your healthcare providers know the type and amount of nutritional supplements you are taking.