The Benefits of Vitamin D Supplements

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Filed Under: Nutritional Support
Last Reviewed 03/28/2014

I’ve been extolling the benefits of Vitamin D supplements for nearly 10 years. This critical nutrient helps to protect against cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, falls and fractures, flu and more. 

The Benefits of Vitamin D Supplements Plus, taking adequate Vitamin D supplements can lower your risk for 17 different kinds of cancer—and can lengthen your life. But to get these benefits you need to be sure you’re taking the right form of Vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin D2 vs Vitamin D3 Supplements

There are two major types of vitamin D: D2 and D3. Vitamin D3 is the form your body makes in response to sun exposure. But unfortunately many doctors prescribe Drisdol, which contains Vitamin D2 and is created by irradiating plant matter and fungus. So patients taking Drisdol are basically getting a “foreign” form of Vitamin D.

Now, new research shows vitamin D3 supplements are far more effective at reducing mortality rates than vitamin D2. Dr. Harvey Murff at Vanderbilt University analyzed 50 studies that included a total of more than 94,000 people. What his analysis found was that Vitamin D3 supplements reduced mortality by 6 percent, and D2 reduced it by only 2 percent.

The popular press never picked up on this vitamin D supplement study—perhaps because prescriptions for Drisdol make more money for Big Pharma than natural Vitamin D3 supplements.

How much Vitamin D should you be taking? That depends on your sun exposure, geographic location, skin color, age, weight and other factors. There truly is no single dose that’s right for everyone. As a general rule, I’ve found that 5,000 IU daily works for most people. Your best bet is to have your blood level of Vitamin D (25(OH)D) tested and take enough Vitamin D3 supplement (cholecalciferol) to keep it in the optimal range of 50–80 ng/mL.

Now it’s your turn: Has your doctor prescribed Vitamin D supplements?

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