I have been prescribing vitamin D to my patients for as long as I can remember. Always the same form: Vitamin D3. It’s the most absorbable form available, so this recommendation is and always has been a no-brainer. There was just never any question about it.
That’s why a new report out of the UK sends chills down my spine. Because if the misinformed standard it reflects is the one currently dominating medical communities throughout the world, you better believe it’s got a foothold here in the U.S., too.
And trust me when I say that this is truly something to be worried about. Vitamin D is just that important.
But first, here’s the stunning-to-no-one revelation contained in this report: “Vitamin D3 is significantly more effective at raising the blood level of vitamin D than vitamin D2 when given at standard doses in everyday food and drink.”
Yes, folks, someone is paying good money to fund research investigating what is — at least among my colleagues — a long foregone conclusion. Not that the difference between D2 and D3 isn’t a vital distinction for the medical community to note.
But if this is what passes for “news” in mainstream circles, we should all be very concerned…
And yet, here we are. The study was a randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplements. Researchers compared animal-derived D3 against plant-based D2 (the most common supplemental form of the nutrient) to assess the effectiveness of raising blood levels of vitamin D.
And surprise, surprise: After 12 weeks, D3 performed better. In fact, it was twice as effective as D2 in raising blood levels of vitamin D.
Again, here’s why that matters. Unlike other nutrients, your body gets the D that it needs from sun exposure. Most people have heard that by now. But what they may not realize is that unless you live in the southernmost part of Florida, you’re probably not getting anywhere near the amount of sun-derived vitamin D that you need to stay healthy.
That why your choices in food and particularly supplements become crucial. Some foods, like fish, eggs, and mushrooms deliver vitamin D. But of those foods, D3-rich fish and eggs perform better than D2-rich foods such as mushrooms.
And the fact is, even if you eat plenty of fish and eggs, you still need to supplement. With D3—not D2. Unless, of course, you like flushing your hard-earned money down the toilet. And unfortunately, there are plenty of supplements out there that would have you doing just that.
Why? Because a long list of official guidelines — including those issued by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the UK Department of Health — state that the D2 and D3 forms of this nutrient are exactly the same in terms of effectiveness. This finding, which demonstrates otherwise, will hopefully flip on its head what the medical community originally thought about the vitamin types.
Clearly, vitamins D2 and D3 are NOT the same — and they never have been. Making this particular issue yet another misguided attempt at claiming authority on something the officials obviously know nothing about.
Seriously? Come on now!
The good news is, now that this has been “proven,” the powers that be just lost another argument against vitamin supplementation. And clinical outcomes may finally start reflecting the real power of vitamin D — against heart disease, osteoporosis, and more — since now, hopefully, researchers will be using the correct form.
Unfortunately, most studies will still probably be using a measly 400 IU per day, like this study did. But YOU shouldn’t.
As always, I typically recommend at least 5,000 IU per day… because at this rate, who knows how long it will take for mainstream medicine to finally catch up?