R2-D2 (No!)

Sorry about the corny title, but you’ll get the point in a minute.

Although vitamin D is extremely important to our well-being, not all Ds are alike. Lisa Houghton wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (October 2006) that “Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, should not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation or fortification.” Other researchers maintain that D2 and D3 are equal in efficacy, but Creighton University and University of South Carolina professors found that “Vitamin D2 potency is less than one third that of vitamin D3. Physicians resorting to use of vitamin D2 should be aware of its markedly lower potency and shorter duration of action relative to vitamin D3.” (http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/89/11/5387)

To be on the safe side when we consume supplemental vitamin D, D3 appears to be the best source, but why do we need that particular vitamin? In a January Better Bones newsletter, Dr. Susan Brown wrote: “The recent explosion of research on vitamin D has made most of us aware that adequate vitamin D is essential for bone health. The degree of its importance, however, is underscored by world-wide research suggesting that practically everyone who experiences an osteoporotic (low-trauma) hip fracture has inadequate levels of vitamin D in his or her blood.”

Dr. William Douglas wrote in an August Daily Dose Digest, that low vitamin D levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and that “a new report in Endocrine Today says it’s now clear beyond all doubt that vitamin D is needed by the immune, pancreas, cardiovascular, muscle and brain systems.” He also says vitamin D can help everything from bones to longevity to prostate health and that low levels of the vitamin have been linked to diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autism and schizophrenia.

From SunSmart, a UK cancer research organization: “More and more studies are showing that getting enough vitamin D can help to reduce the risk of bowel cancer. Some studies have suggested that having enough vitamin D protects against other cancers too, but the evidence is not consistent enough for us to say for sure.”

The Vitamin D3 Blog (http://vitamind3blog.com) suggests that more than half the American population is vitamin D deficient. You can find all kinds of interesting info on the site including sources of vitamin D plus dosage discussions.

Treat your body to exercise, fresh air and sunshine this weekend! Becky

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