Vitamin D2

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This vitamin regulates phosphorous and calcium levels in the body, lending to its important role in bone growth. . It has two forms that are important to the human body: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Ergocalciferol is manufactured by plants or fungi. Cholecalciferol can be consumed through some foods or it can be synthesized by the body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunshine. This manufacturing can happen after as little as 15 minutes of sun exposure, at least 3 times a week. Similarly to how the human body synthesizes vitamin D3 from sunlight exposure, fungi produce vitamin D2 through sunlight absorption. For this reason, it is not essential for the human body.

Which Form of Vitamin D is More Effective?
Vitamin D3 has been stated as being the safest, most useful and stable form of vitamin D. Vitamin D2, once ingested, breaks down into several compounds, some of which are said to potentially be toxic and harmful. This is probably because ergocalciferol, or D2, is not found naturally in the body. In addition, vitamin D3 is said to be many times more potent and raises serum levels of vitamin D more effectively than vitamin D2.

When is Vitamin D2 Used?
Vitamin D2 is commonly used in fortified foods, including milk, juices, and cereals that don’t already contain it. It is also found naturally in other dairy products, eggs, and fish. This form of the vitamin is very commonly added to nutritional supplements, but there is current debate as to whether or not this is necessary and safe. Some researchers feel that it is ineffective, and this ineffectiveness increases with a longer shelf-life; it is said to reduce vitamin D concentration with time as well. On the other hand, some researchers feel that it is just as essential as vitamin D3, ensuring absorption of calcium, helping to fight high blood pressure, and also assisting in the fight against osteoporosis.

Recommended Daily Dosage
The amount of vitamin D required daily increases with age. For most people it is 5 micrograms (mcg) per day. Those who are aged 50-70 years old, 10 mcg are recommended; after 70, 15 mcg are recommended. To give you something to go off of, a glass of milk contains roughly 2.5 mcg of vitamin D. A supplement can provide the full amount.

Deficiency of Vitamin D
Inadequate intakes of vitamin D can lead to very serious problems, mostly in children, but adults can be affected as well. Deficiency symptoms include bone pain, frequent bone fractures, softening of the bones, lower immunity, and muscle aches and weakness. There are also a variety of symptoms that occur in different age groups: in the elderly, frequent falls are common, as well as cognitive problems and depression; in children, symptoms can include stunted growth and severe asthma. In children, Ricketts is the disease characterized as the softening of the bones. It can either be a result of lack of vitamin D intake, due to liver or kidney problems, or because of the body’s poor absorption of the nutrient.

Overdose of Vitamin D
It is very hard to overdose on vitamin D because once the body has its required amount, it shuts down all mechanisms of making the vitamin. The most common cause of an overdose is due to taking supplements containing vitamin D; the body is not capable of shutting down its production from nutritional supplements. Too much consumption of vitamin D through a supplement is linked to a build-up of levels that can become toxic. Even so, this overdose most likely happens over a long period of time, not from a single dosage. Problems associated with an overdose include:

  • Higher than normal levels of calcium in the body.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Poor appetite and/or weight loss.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Excessive urine production.
  • In pregnant women, it can cause fetal abnormalities.


Last updated on Aug 7th, 2011 and filed under Vitamins and Minerals. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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