Get the Most from Your Vitamin D

Which type of vitamin D you take and when you take it can make a big difference in how much actually gets stored, absorbed and used by your body.

We are learning more and more about how important vitamin D is to a wide range of health functions. (Read more about vitamin D and its advantages, sources and necessary levels at Vitamin D – For More Than Just Bones.) But taking the right form of this important "wonder" vitamin at the right time of day can maximize its benefits.

According to a new study (1), vitamin D3 is 87 percent more potent at raising blood levels of the vitamin than vitamin D2.

In addition, vitamin D3 also produced a 2- to 3-fold increase in the storage of the vitamin, compared with vitamin D2. About 17 percent of the D3 was stored by the subjects, and the rest was consumed, metabolized or both.

Vitamin D comes in two major forms: D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, or ergocalciferol. Both D3 and D2 are transformed in the liver and kidneys into 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), the non-active 'storage' form that is measured in the blood, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D), the active form that is tightly controlled by the body.

"Given its greater potency and lower cost, D3 should be the preferred treatment option when correcting vitamin D deficiency," concluded the researchers.

Another study (2) suggests that vitamin D will perform best if you take it with your biggest meal/s of the day, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
In fact, when the researchers examined D-deficient middle-aged and older adults, they found that pairing the supplement with the largest meal of their day, rather than small meals, snacks, or an empty stomach, doubled the participants' blood levels. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of fats from foods.

Basic Nutrient Support® now contains 1,600 IU of vitamin D3 per serving, and Bone Support supplies an additional 800 IU. It is recommended that Basic Nutrient Support be taken with a morning and evening meal for improved absorption.

(1) Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
Authors: R.P. Heaney, R.R. Recker, J. Grote, R.L. Horst, L.A.G. Armas
"Vitamin D3 Is More Potent Than Vitamin D2 in Humans"
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-2230

(2)"Taking vitamin D with the largest meal improves absorption and results in higher serum levels of 25‐hydroxyvitamin D"
Guy B Mulligan, Angelo Licata
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Dr. Reginald B. Cherry ( is a member of the American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, Harris County Medical Society, and the American College of Preventive Medicine. Dr. Cherry has authored numerous articles on Preventive Medicine, emphasizing nutrition and exercise. He also speaks extensively on these topics nationwide and conducts numerous seminars for various groups and organizations. Currently, his weekly television program reaches 80 million homes.

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