Vitamin D3 More Effective Than D2

NEW ORLEANS, Jun 17, 2004 -- New research shows that vitamin D3 is more effective than D2 for treating vitamin D deficiency, which is often caused by lack of sunlight or dietary insufficiency. The findings will be presented this week at ENDO 2004, the 86th Annual Meeting of The Endocrine Society, which is taking place from June 16-19, 2004 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

During adolescent years, nutritional problems such as vitamin D deficiency can negatively impact bone density and cause a crippling bone disorder known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. People naturally receive vitamin D either through sun exposure, which causes precursors in the skin to form vitamin D, or through some foods that are supplemented with vitamin D, such as milk.

Since the 1930s, researchers have believed that vitamin D2 and D3 are essentially the same in people. However, recent studies have shown that vitamins D2 and D3 are actually not the same. Dr. Laura Armas, and colleagues examined the potencies of vitamins D2 and D3 by randomly giving a single dose of 50,000 IU of either vitamin D2 or D3 to 20 healthy male volunteers. Over a period of 28 days, blood levels of vitamin D and its product 25-hydroxyvitamin D were measured. At 14 days and 28 days, the vitamin D3 group had significantly higher levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D than the Vitamin D2 group confirming that vitamin D3 is clearly the better form of vitamin D.

"Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem that is increasingly recognized by many doctors as a health threat," explains Dr. Armas. "Our findings will help patients and doctors choose a more effective vitamin D supplement when treating this deficiency."

The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest, and most active organization devoted to research on hormones, and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Endocrinologists are specially trained doctors who diagnose, treat and conduct basic and clinical research on complex hormonal disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, obesity, hypertension, cholesterol and reproductive disorders. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 11,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students, in more than 80 countries. Together, these members represent all basic, applied, and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society, and the field of endocrinology, visit the Society's web site at

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