Vitamin D3 beats D2 for maintaining winter levels

Vitamin D3 is more effective at maintaining blood levels of the sunshine vitamin during winter months than the D2 form, says a new study.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study comparing vitamin D3 and D2 by mapping the time course of serum 25(OH)D from the summertime peak through to the wintertime nadir,” wrote researchers in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors – D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. Both D3 and D2 precursors are transformed in the liver and kidneys into 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), the non-active ‘storage’ form, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D), the biologically active form that is tightly controlled by the body.

Many researchers agree that many people are vitamin D deficient and need vitamin D supplements, but the form and recommended dose are still hotly debated.

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