Many people—myself included—have been diagnosed as “vitamin D deficient” by their doctors, especially since research on the vitamin and its effects on overall health has revved up in a big way over the last decade. I live in Florida, “The Sunshine State,” and I still can’t produce enough vitamin D on my own to meet the standards for good health, so if you’re a Northerner and you haven’t had a routine blood test to check for this in a while, you might want to make an appointment.
And because of this widespread deficiency, it’s all too common nowadays for physicians to prescribe vitamin D supplements to their patients in order to increase their levels, which is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, building muscle and protecting your body against many threatening diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
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The Institute of Health recommends a minimum dosage of 600 IU a day, but some experts say you need even more than that, although too much can be dangerous. However, although the dosage you take is of utmost importance, new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that one type of vitamin D (D3; found in fish, eggs and fortified milk) is much more effective than the other (D2; found in mushrooms).
Researchers from the University of Surrey in England studied 335 women between the ages of 20 and 64 over the course of three months to determine the effects of the vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 that was provided in their food, or neither of the two. The participants had blood tests to start, giving the researchers a baseline of their vitamin D levels, and then again midway throughout the study, as well as at the end. The results showed that the women who ate the food fortified with vitamin D3 had significantly higher levels of the vitamin in their blood.
Study author, Laura Tripkovic, PhD, of the University of Surrey in England, said in a press release: “Our findings show that D3 is twice as effective as D2 in raising D levels in the body.” So if you’re going to bother taking the vitamin in the first place, why not make sure it’s the most effective one?
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