Well, you made it. It’s the end of the year, work’s winding down, and festivities are upon us. For some of us, this means winter is officially here (hate it or love it). While flu season is at an all-time high, vitamin D levels are at an all-time low.
Studies have shown that vitamin D levels are seasonal. In the United States, vitamin D levels tend to be at their highest in August, and at their lowest in February. This is unsurprising given our bodies get the majority of their vitamin D via the sun. The bad news is that a whopping 40% of the US population suffers from a vitamin D deficiency. The good news is that taking a vitamin D supplement will ensure you are getting all of your Vit D needs!
Why should we care about vitamin D? It provides us with numerous health benefits including warding off that damned winter flu. To learn more about these benefits, check out our other recent posts “what does vitamin D do?” and “three surprising benefits of vitamin D” to get the D-low.
Now, before you go guzzling any and all the vitamin D supplements you can get your hands on, there are a number of things to consider. What is in your vitamin D supplement? Is your vitamin D supplement vegan? What is the recommended dosage?
Types of Vitamin D
What type of vitamin D should you be consuming? Vitamin D2 or vitamin D3?
Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, is produced by plants when they are exposed to UV light (similar to the way our bodies produce vitamin D). Our body doesn’t naturally produce this form of vitamin D, and yet most supplements contain vitamin D2. Likewise, foods fortified with vitamin D (such as nut milk and other plant-based foods) tend to be fortified with vitamin D2, being an inexpensive way to boost nutrient quantity.
Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is the bioactive form of vitamin D that our body naturally produces when it is exposed to sunlight. How does this work? When our body is exposed sunlight, it receives vitamin D in an inactive form. Our body activates the vitamin D in the liver and kidneys, converting it into its hormone form (or active form), which our body then uses for its numerous health benefits.
Why you should choose vitamin D3 over vitamin D2
But which is better!? Easy: vitamin D3. Here’s why.
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of vitamin D3 consumption compared to vitamin D2. While both are beneficial for your health, vitamin D3 is far better absorbed and utilized by the body. In fact, functionally, vitamin D3 is 300% more effective than vitamin D2! This is largely due to the biological mechanisms at play which convert the vitamin D into its hormonal form within the body. In fact, vitamin D2 and D3 are metabolized so differently that they result in the production of “unique biologically active metabolites” according to a study in the American Journal of Nutrition. Moral of the story – choose vitamin D3 over vitamin D2.
How can I access vitamin D3?
The different sources of vitamin D3 are sunlight, nutrients and supplements.
Let’s be honest, any chance of getting quality sunshine this winter is next to nothing (unless you’re going on vacay). While vitamin D2 is present in some plant-based foods, vitamin D3 is largely limited to a small selection of animal-based foods (such foods include fish, cod liver oil, eggs, and mushrooms). This means that, nutritionally, accessing vitamin D3 from our food is difficult, especially for vegans.
So stop messing around and get Ora Organic’s new vitamin D3 supplement "Sol Food" - a quick and easy source of all of your Vit D needs! Sol Food is jam-packed with 2,000 international units of vitamin D3 per capsule, which is the recommended daily dosage according to recent research. Sol Food is friendly to our body, the planet, and to our furry friends (go vegan, darling!). Finally, Sol Food contains organic sunflower lecithin – meaning not a drop is wasted as it is easily absorbed into the body.