Vitamin D is an important component for bone and immune system health, but recent study reveals that not all versions of the vitamin are created equal.
Scientists from the Universities of Surrey and Brighton in the United Kingdom looked at two types of vitamin D supplements — those containing vitamin D2 and those containing vitamin D3 — and found that only vitamin D3 had an effect on the body that might help the immune system.
“We have shown that vitamin D3 appears to stimulate the type I interferon signaling system in the body — a key part of the immune system that provides a first line of defense against bacteria and viruses,” Colin Smith, PhD, a professor of functional genomics at Brighton and a lead study author, said in a press release. “Thus, a healthy vitamin D3 status may help prevent viruses and bacteria from gaining a foothold in the body.”
This is significant, because previous research indicated both forms of vitamin D were equally effective, while this latest study suggests foods fortified with vitamin D should prioritize D3 over D2.
“The lack of impact we found when looking at vitamin D2 means that a larger study is urgently required to clarify the differences in the effects,” said Susan Lanham-New, PhD, a professor and head of the department of nutritional sciences at Brighton and a study co-author.
Vitamin D is different than other vitamins in that it’s naturally synthesized by the cholesterol cells in the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
But most people don’t get enough sunshine or eat enough vitamin D-rich foods to get an adequate supply. More than 4 in 10 Americans get insufficient levels of vitamin D, studies show.
Hence, many foods are fortified with vitamin D to help increase daily intake — milk being one of the most common.
Besides spending more time in the sunshine — you only need about 10 to 30 minutes’ worth a few times per week — certain foods are going to be your best source of vitamin D.
This story has been published from a syndicate feed with some modifications to the text.