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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.