Types of vitamin D have different health benefits
Author:Science and Technology Division, UK
Article Source:Adapted from: The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council 31st May 2012
A new research funded by the British Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has shown that vitamin D3 supplements could provide more benefit than vitamin D2. It is believed that the new finding could lead to changes in the food industry when it comes to fortification.
Vitamin D is a type of “sunshine” vitamin, important for bone and muscle health. There is concern that we don’t get enough nutrition through exposure to sunlight or through diet. As a result, some foods are fortified with vitamin D. Fortification is usually with vitamin D2, which is not derived from animals. However, the new research clearly showed that vitamin D3, the type of vitamin D found in foods including eggs and oily fish, is the more beneficial of the two types of vitamin D in raising the vitamin D levels in our blood and being converted by the body into the hormone.
Scientists from the University of Surrey analysed the results of 10 separate studies, involving over 1,000 people in total, comparing the health benefits of vitamin D2 and D3, and found vitamin D3 supplements more effective. The researchers explained that it has been known that vitamin D is vital in helping to keep us fit and healthy. It used to be thought that both types were equally beneficial, until the new research highlights that our bodies may react differently to both types and that vitamin D3 could actually be better for us.
This new research only analysed vitamin supplements. The researchers are now conducting a further study to see if the same results are found when using lower doses of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 added to foods. They will also look at how gender, ethnicity and genetic make-up may play a role in how our bodies use both types of vitamin D.