How do I Choose the Best Vitamin D Supplement?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that many people choose to take in supplement form. Supplements are available in two main forms. One primary form of vitamin D found in supplements is vitamin D2, which is called ergocalciferol. The other primary form is vitamin D3, which is called cholecalciferol. Often, people become confused about which type of vitamin D supplement is best for their bodies.

Salmon is a good food source of Vitamin D.
Salmon is a good food source of Vitamin D.

For some, cholecalciferol is the preferred type of vitamin D supplement. This is because certain people in the health field believe vitamin D2 supplements are not as potent as their D3 counterparts. However, there is also research evidence to suggest that vitamin D2 is just as effective as vitamin D3. For now, the debate continues, and people must trust their own instincts when making a choice.

Sardines are a good source of vitamin D.
Sardines are a good source of vitamin D.

When considering which vitamin D supplement is best, it may help to gain an understanding of the primary types available. Vitamin D2 is made by invertebrate animals and plants. Vitamin D3 is made when sunlight strikes the skin of a vertebrate, is absorbed, and is transformed into vitamin D3 because of a reaction that occurs in the skin cells. Despite this distinction, both types are found in the blood of human beings.

Exposure to sun provides a natural source of vitamin D.
Exposure to sun provides a natural source of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is known to help in the prevention of serious conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. It is also known to help prevent heart disease, and certain types of cancer, including those that affect the breast, colon, and ovaries. This vitamin also helps to keep the bones healthy and is essential to the regulation of cell growth activity. It can even help to reduce inflammation.

Vitamin D is known to help in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Vitamin D is known to help in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Often, people get enough vitamin D from food sources and sun exposure, so they do not have to rely on supplementation. Good food sources include sockeye salmon, fortified milk and cereal, shrimp, eggs, and sardines. However, some people do become deficient, which can lead to bones that are too soft, painful bones, and frequent fractures. Bone deformities can arise because of vitamin D deficiency, as can growth retardation. People who are presently at risk of or experiencing any of these conditions can likely benefit from a good vitamin D supplement. Additionally, those who do not get much exposure to the sun, wear clothing that covers most of their bodies, or use sunscreen with an SPF higher than 8 may benefit as well.

A vitamin D deficiency may cause weak bones.
A vitamin D deficiency may cause weak bones.
By spending 30 minutes in the sun, a person's body can make the equivalent of 10,000 international units of vitamin D.
By spending 30 minutes in the sun, a person's body can make the equivalent of 10,000 international units of vitamin D.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

anon997320

If you live in a country where there is plenty of sunshine and your skin is exposed, there no need to supplement.

anon944742

Vitamin D is a important supplement. It helps you boost your energy level, prevents type 2 diabetes and gives you healthy bones.The recommended daily dosage is 1,000mg. -- Darryl H.

anon238656

I have a question. Is a vitamin d supplement different than the ones you guys are talking about? This supplement I have is with my thyroid problem. Should I take this supplement I have, but it's with calcium. Should I take it or not? Thank you. --chris 43 post 1

anon234497

Better take calcium citrate with vitamin d 3. That is a tablet CCM by Glaxo India.

chrisinbama

Osteoporosis runs in my family. Because of that, my mom and I have taken Vitamin D for years. I wanted to add that there are Vitamin D supplement side effects if taken improperly.

My best friend was taking 3 different Vitamin D supplements because she doesn’t drink milk and was worried she wasn’t getting enough Vitamin D. Over several months, she became nauseated often and had no appetite. She was very weak and became dehydrated.

After several trips to the doctor, it was determined that she had Vitamin D toxicity. He took her off of the Vitamin D but because it is stored in fat cells, it took time for it to come out of her system.

That was 2 years ago and she is fine now. She takes 1 Vitamin D tablet a day.

alex94

I’m glad someone did an article on Vitamin D. Great information! Recently, a deficiency of Vitamin D has been called the silent epidemic. A study done estimated that 40% of the population over the age of 50 has a Vitamin D deficiency.

The ability of our skin to convert Vitamin D to active form decreases the older we get.

I like to use natural products, when available. My favorite natural Vitamin D supplement is sunshine! That attributes to why many people have a deficiency more in the winter months than the summer months.

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