Friday, January 14, 2011

My Vitamin D Recommendations

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. When the sun hits your skin, vitamin D is produced. Amongst many things, vitamin D has been shown to:

• Maintain bone strength
• Modulate the immune system
• Have anti-infectious properties
• Decrease the risk of cancer
• Lower the risk of heart disease

I have been checking levels of vitamin D and supplementing with vitamin D for almost 20 years. There are two sources of vitamin D available for supplementation: D2 and D3. D2, known as ergocalciferol is a plant-based vitamin D that has to be converted to D3. Vitamin D2 is not the natural form of vitamin D produced in humans. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the form of vitamin D produced in the body when sunlight hits the skin.

I have always recommended vitamin D supplements to be D3 since vitamin D3 is naturally produced in the human body. I have never understood why anyone would use vitamin D2 when vitamin D3 was available.
A recent study looked at which form of vitamin D (D2 or D3) was better absorbed. Researchers studied 33 adults and gave them 50,000U of either vitamin D2 or D3 for 12 weeks. At the end of 12 weeks, Vitamin D levels were measured in the blood. The results showed that, as compared to vitamin D2, vitamin D3 was much more effective at raising serum vitamin D levels. In fact, the researchers wrote, “…D3 was from 56-87 percent more potent than D2 in raising {vitamin D levels}.”

Vitamin D3 is more potent and less expensive than vitamin D2. This study provides further validation that there is no reason to use vitamin D2. Unfortunately, the prescription form of vitamin D is in the form of D2. As previously stated, I only recommend vitamin D3 when supplementing with vitamin D. My usual recommendations are from 2,000-6,000IU of vitamin D3 per day. It is important to periodically check your vitamin D levels.

A well-absorbed form of vitamin D3 is Bio D Forte from Biotics Research Company. This product can be found at my office:


  • At January 15, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the great information. Your recommendation for daily supplementation are from 2000-6000IU of vitamin D3, so what do you consider an optimum level to be in a blood test? A 25 Hydroxyvitamin D2D3 test shows standard range of 30-80 in my records, do you feel this is adequate? (I was recently at 102 and they pulled me off supplements...?)


  • At January 15, 2011 at 9:47 AM , Blogger Dr. David Brownstein said...

    Optimal vitamin 25-hydroxy D3 levels are in the range of 40-80ng/ml. However, some patients with autoimmune or neurological disorders such as MS feel better with higher vitamin D levels--sometimes in the range of 100-150ng/ml. Following serum calcium levels can prevent problems from excess vitamin D supplementation. My experience has shown that vitamin D is extremely safe, even at higher doses.


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