This essential vitamin is produced when your skin is exposed to the sun. You need to only do this for two or three times a week for around 20 minutes each time. It was originally discovered by researchers looking for the cause of the bone disease rickets. It can prevent this disease in children and osteomalacia in adults. Although everyone knows this vitamin as vitamin D, there is actually more than one. So what is the difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3?
Vitamin D is best known for its involvement in mineral metabolism and bone growth. It is crucial for the intestinal absorption of calcium. This gives you strong bones, cartilage, and teeth.
When you take a walk in the sun the energy from the sunlight is absorbed by your skin. This generates vitamin D3 also known as cholecalciferol. Anyone who has adequate exposure to sunlight will not normally suffer from a deficiency of vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 is then transported to your liver where conversion by an enzyme makes it five times more powerful than the original. An enzyme in the kidneys subsequently converts this to a form which is 10 times more potent than the original vitamin D3.
Each form of this vitamin D3 has a different effect on the metabolism of calcium in your body. Therefore, for a healthy bone structure, both conversions must take place perfectly each time. Many patients with osteoporosis suffer from an impaired conversion in the kidneys.
We have mentioned osteomalacia; this is where the patient suffers from chronic bone pain and muscle weakness. It also results in deformities of the bones in the arms, legs, spine thorax, and pelvis. Someone who has suffered from this will have a very distinctive walk.
Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin it is stored in the body until it is required for use. Therefore, people who live in countries, which do not have adequate sunshine all year-round, can store what they need for the winter months.
This vitamin has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, especially with regard to breast and colon cancer. Research has shown that the occurrences of both these cancers are higher in countries where people are subjected to the least amount of sunshine.
What is the difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3? Vitamin D without a subscript refers to either D2 or D3 or both.
It has become extremely popular for people who are going out in the sun to apply sunscreen, wear large hats, and generally protect themselves from the rays of the sun. It is estimated that 40% of the population are now vitamin D deficient.
It has long been accepted that the supplemental forms of D2 and D3 are equivalent and interchangeable. However recent research has shown that D3 is the more potent form in humans. The evidence indicated that the potency of D2 is less than one-third that of D3.
The vast majority of supplements in the United States are comprised of vitamin D2. This means you should ensure if you have a vitamin D deficiency, or you are thinking of taking a supplement that contains D3. There are high-quality multi-vitamin supplements that include vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) as part of their ingredients.
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