Vitamin D3 Benefits Over Vitamin D2!

Vitamin D3 Model

Recent research continues to show the importance of Vitamin D but few understand the difference between vitamin D3 benefits over vitamin D2. 

Yes, there are two forms of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 is manufactured by plants or fungus and is typically used to fortified foods like milk, cereals, and juices. This form of vitamin D is called Ergocalciferol.  

Vitamin D3 is called Cholecalciferol and is synthesized by humans and animals from sunlight. When taken in supplement form it has a longer shelf life and is better for the human body. In a recently published study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, vitamin D3 was shown to be 87% more effective in raising vitamin D levels in the blood over vitamin D2. According to the lead researcher Dr. Robert Heaney (Creigton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska),  

Given its greater potency, D3 should be the preferred treatment option when correcting vitamin D deficiency.” 

Their research showed that vitamin D3 produced significantly greater bioavailability and reserve storage than vitamin D2. 

Vitamin D3 Benefits 

As the body of scientific research continues to grow, the number of health benefits from vitamin D3 also grows. Here is a brief summary of some of the new vitamin D3 benefits: 

Helps to Maintain Calcium Balance in the Bloodstream – Vitally important to cardiovascular health is the proper maintenance of your blood calcium levels. This helps to prevent calcification of the vascular wall, which leads to arteriosclerosis. Additionally, your endothelial cells, which line all of your cardiovascular system, need calcium to be able to convert the amino acid L-arginine into nitric oxide – the master signaling molecule of your entire cardiovascular system.  

Helps in Blood Pressure Regulation – Recent studies have shown that vitamin D3 may decrease the risk for high blood pressure. This would make sense since proper blood calcium levels are needed to initiate the production of nitric oxide from L-arginine. Since nitric oxide is the body’s most powerful vasodilator, it is used to relax the vascular wall to help control blood pressure. 

Has a Role in Insulin Secretion – When conditions are right for increased insulin demand, vitamin D3 can play a pivotal part in insulin secretion.  

Boosts Your Immunity – Studies are showing vitamin D3 to be a potent immune system modulator to help enhance your immunity while helping to inhibit the development of autoimmunity.  

Aids in Cell Differentiation – Cell differentiation is needed to help cells form for specific functions in your body. While cellular differentiation is needed for growth and wound healing, uncontrolled proliferation of cells can lead to cancer. The active form of vitamin D3 inhibits this proliferation and stimulates cell differentiation. 

Prevention of Osteoporosis – Vitamin D3 is recognized as the best form for balancing the amount of calcium and phosphorous within your bloodstream. This is essential for bone production and development.  

Vitamin D3 Benefits versus Toxicity 

There is an ongoing debate regarding vitamin D3 benefits versus toxicity resulting from vitamin D overdose. Because of this the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has established a tolerable upper intake level of 2000 IU of vitamin D3. However, many research studies suggest that this upper intake level of 2000 IU is very conservative and that healthy people could increase their intake levels to 10,000 IU/day without side effects.  

If you have questions in this area, then work with your health care provider to find the vitamin D3 intake that will help to bring your blood concentrations of 25(OH)D, which is the circulating vitamin D metabolite that serves as the most frequently measured indicator of vitamin D status, into a healthy range.  

Vitamin D3 Benefits Increase Through the Method of Absorption 

If you are going to use vitamin D3 supplements to improve your vitamin D3 benefits then make sure that the product you use is either a spray or chewable supplement. This dramatically increases absorption over those supplements that you swallow. By using the spray or chewable supplements you will achieve better results in a shorter period of time. 

As you hear more and more research toting the health benefits of vitamin D, please make sure that you choose a supplement that contains vitamin D3 in a chewable form. You will improve both your absorption and effectiveness in raising this needed nutrient in your bloodstream.  

Together we can work to save a million lives! 

Dan Hammer 

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.  

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about vitamin D3 benefits has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Vitamin D and Heart Disease!

Vitamin DVitamin D has long been associated with bone health. However, over the last seven years new research, especially research by Dr. Michael F. Holick, has shown that this vitamin is essential in the prevention of heart disease and a host of other illnesses. For example, research now shows that vitamin D has an active role in the following biological functions: 

  • Calcium Balance – Maintaining blood calcium levels within a narrow range is vital for cardiovascular function, bone growth, bone density, and functioning of the nervous system. Specific to the cardiovascular system, proper calcium levels are needed to activate the NOS enzymes used by the endothelial cells to create nitric oxide from the essential amino acid L-arginine. 
  • Cell Differentiation – The active form of vitamin D inhibits cellular proliferation and stimulates cellular differentiation. Cellular proliferation is essential for growth and wound healing but when left unchecked it can lead to cancer. Vitamin D helps to regulate this so that cells differentiate into specialized cells for specific functions in your body.
  • Immune System Modulator – Research suggests that proper levels of vitamin D help to prevent the autoimmune diseases of diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. This vitamin also helps to boost your immune system functions. 
  • Insulin Secretion – New research suggests that insufficient vitamin D levels adversely effect insulin secretion and glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetes. 

This is just a brief look at the role vitamin D plays in your overall health. We haven’t yet touched on how it can prevent heart disease. Before we do, we need to review some basic facts about this vitamin. 

Vitamin D Basics!

There are two basic forms of vitamin D. One comes from plants in the form of ergocalciferol or vitamin D2. The other comes from humans in the form of cholecalciferol or vitamin D3. Extensive research on both D2 and D3 has shown that the D3 form is clearly better when supplementing with vitamin D.  

Supplementation has become a big factor in helping people achieve the necessary amounts of vitamin D. Why? For two basic reasons: 

First, your body is able to use the UVB of sunlight and convert 7-dehydrocholsterol, located in your skin, into vitamin D3. Unfortunately, we spend less time outdoors in the sunlight for a variety of reasons. This has dramatically reduced our exposure to UVB radiation needed to help people naturally produce their own vitamin D. This is compounded in the winter months when exposure to sunlight is further reduced. 

Second, we’ve underestimated the daily amount of vitamin D needed for good health. For a very long time, vitamin D has been categorized as a fat-soluble vitamin. New research is clearly showing that it’s not simply a fat-soluble vitamin used just for metabolic reactions. It’s also a hormone. There are receptor sites for vitamin D on the cell membranes of most cells in your body. As our understanding of the role that vitamin D plays in both metabolic and hormonal functions has increased, the blood levels needed to sustain this activity has almost doubled from what was previously thought necessary.  

Vitamin D and Heart Disease! 

Thanks to the work of Dr. Michael F. Holick and others, it is clear that vitamin D plays a critical role in preventing heart disease. It does this both directly and indirectly. However, it’s important to note that either method affects the health of the endothelial cells and their ability to properly produce nitric oxide. Let’s look at one indirect connection: 

Diabetes According to Dr. Holick, children from Finland who received 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day during the first year of life and followed for 31 years reduced their risk of developing type 1 diabetes by 88%. Dr. Holick goes on to say in a recent interview 

In terms of type 2 diabetes, the beta islet cell that makes insulin has a vitamin D receptor. Active vitamin D stimulates insulin production. There is evidence that vitamin D may be directly acting on fat cells to improve insulin sensitivity. Therefore, vitamin D plays a role in insulin production, as well as enhancing insulin sensitivity and is a likely explanation for one of the studies I cite in the book (The Vitamin D Solution) that there was a 33% reduced relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes for men and women who had the highest vitamin D intake.” 

Uncontrolled blood sugar, which is the challenge of diabetes, caused oxidative stress to the endothelial cells resulting in damage. Damaged endothelial cells affect the proper production of nitric oxide, which is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system. This can lead to a host of heart disease issues like high blood pressure, poor circulation, blood platelet cells sticking together to increase the risk for heart attacks and strokes, and well as other damage to the vascular walls. 

Now let’s look at several direct connections: 

Blood Pressure Regulation Vitamin D plays a direct role in helping you maintain your blood pressure. It does this in two ways. First, it helps to maintain proper calcium levels so that NOS enzymes used by the endothelial cells can properly produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that relaxes the smooth muscle tone of the vascular wall. This controls blood pressure. Plus, vitamin D helps to regulate proper blood volume levels that are needed to control blood pressure. 

Heart Muscle Function – Vitamin D plays a very important role in preventing muscle weakness. It also plays a significant role in nerve firing and nerve triggering of the heart muscle contraction. This means that vitamin D plays a vital role in both nerve stimulation for heart muscle contraction and the strength of that contraction. 

Arteriosclerosis Vitamin D inhibits vascular calcification by blocking the release of inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules that can damage the endothelial cells. This is extremely important since the American Heart Association attributes 75% of all cardiovascular disease to arteriosclerosis.  

Vitamin D Daily Recommendations! 

In a recent study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, vitamin D deficiencies are more wide-spread than previously thought, by as much as 50% or higher. This is especially true for older adults. The current recommendations for adults 18 years and older are 2000 IU per day. If you are overweight or obese then you most likely need even more.  

To learn more about how vitamin D can be a critical factor in improving your overall health and lowering your risk for heart disease, I would recommend The Vitamin D Solution by Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD who is considered by many to be The Pioneer of Vitamin D Research. Also, the following link on vitamin D would be helpful:  

Together we can work to save a million lives! 

Dan Hammer 

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.  

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about vitamin D and heart disease has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Ask Dr. Mao, Calcium, Heart Disease and Nitric Oxide!

On Friday, October 30, 2009 Dr. Mao (Dr. Maoshing Ni) posted an article on Yahoo Health entitled “What Soft Drinks are Doing to Your Body.”  Dr. Mao posted some very good information and if you click on the above title it will link you to the actual article. 

Two particular items really stood out for me because they have HUGE RAMIFICATIONS for heart disease and your body’s ability to produce Nitric Oxide – the master signaling molecule for the cardiovascular system.  This is what Dr. Mao posted:

“Carbonation depletes calcium
Beverages with bubbles contain phosphoric acid, which can severely deplete the blood calcium levels; calcium is a key component of the bone matrix. With less concentration of calcium over a long time, it can lower deposition rates so that bone mass and density suffer. This means that drinking sodas and carbonated water increases your risk of osteoporosis.

Add in the caffeine usually present in soft drinks, and you are in for even more trouble. Caffeine can deplete the body’s calcium, in addition to stimulating your central nervous system and contributing to stress, a racing mind, and insomnia.”

Both phosphoric acid and caffeine have a direct effect on depleting the body’s calcium.  Dr. Mao relates this to increasing your risk for osteoporosis.  While this is true what he doesn’t talk about is how this directly affects your body’s ability to produce Nitric Oxide. 

There are many critical elements to your health and your body’s ability to produce Nitric Oxide is one of them.  Your endothelial cells produce Nitric Oxide from the essential amino acid L-arginine by the enzymatic action of Nitric Oxide Synthase or NOS.  The activity of the NOS enzymes are calcium dependent.  When phosphoric acid depletes blood calcium it directly affects the NOS enzymes’ ability to produce Nitric Oxide. 

Additionally, the NOS enzymes are pH dependent and work best in slightly alkaline (basic) conditions.  Phosphoric acid causes a change in pH to the acidic side.  This means that the phosphoric acid found in almost all dark colas causes a depletion of blood calcium and a change in blood pH.  These two factors directly affect the effectiveness and the efficiency of the NOS enzymes resulting in a decreased production of Nitric Oxide.  This has the potential to increase the risks for a wide range of health issues especially those related to the cardiovascular system. 

Two Additional Factors That Have a Nitric Oxide Connection!

Nitric Oxide is a very powerful free radicalWhen unregulated it can cause oxidative stress leading to tissue damage and death!  Your immune system uses Nitric Oxide to destroy pathogens.  As Dr. Mao points out one of the consequences of a large consumption of soft drinks is the depression of the immune system especially a decrease in white blood cell count.  This weakens your body’s ability to fight disease and elevates your risk for several types of cancer. 

Additionally, elevated blood glucose levels increase the formation of Advanced Glycation End products commonly referred to as AGEs.  As you age your structural proteins are damaged by a process known as glycation.  This process is an uncontrolled, non-enzymatic reaction between proteins and sugars to significantly alter the structure and function of proteins.  In this process a sugar molecule attaches itself to a protein molecule resulting in the formation of a non-functioning glycated protein structure.  Research over the last 20 years has implicated AGEs in most of the diseases associated with aging and in particular with atherosclerosis.  Atherosclerosis damages the vascular system especially the endothelial cells.  This damage reduces your body’s ability to properly produce Nitric Oxide.

Every time you consume a dark cola you’re creating an environment that can impact your body’s ability to produce Nitric Oxide.  Whether it is a reduction in available calcium, an acidic change in blood pH, or damage to the endothelial cells from Advanced Glycation End products, you risk loosing the positive impact Nitric Oxide can have on your cardiovascular health and your overall wellness.

The following articles from my website will provide you with some additional information about the negative impact dark colas can have on your overall health:

The Dark Cola Drink Versus Water!

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Good or Bad for You?

How Advanced Glycation End Products Cause You to AGE!

I hope the information from Dr. Mao as well as the additional insights from this post and linked articles will help you understand how destructive soft drinks, especially dark colas, can be to your cardiovascular system and overall wellness.  If you found this information valuable, then please share it with others.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam.  The information contain in this blogging website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.