Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth. Vitamin D is actually available in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3, and the main difference really is just the source. While D2 is manufactured from plants and fungi (and often the type that’s included in fortified milk, bread, and cereal), D3 is created from animal products and is the kind most similar to that which is naturally made by the body through sunlight exposure.
When supplementing with vitamin D, D3 is the preferred form, since it is far better absorbed than D2. It also has reparative properties and often high levels of Vitamin D3 are given to patients during treatment to recover from different illnesses and diseases associated with Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D3 helps your body absorb calcium, an essential mineral for the production of healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is especially important during infancy and adolescence, and poor calcium absorption can lead to low calcium levels and poor bone health and development.
The best benefits of vitamin D3 include improved bone density and brain health. Studies have found that vitamin D3 is able to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by improving cognitive function. A deficiency of vitamin D has often been associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
The most significant signs that you may need vitamin D3 supplements include bone discomfort and muscle weakness. This deficiency is also associated with asthma in children and poor cognitive function in older adults.
In addition to obtaining vitamin D from sun exposure, you can get the vitamin from some food sources. Fatty fish such as mackerel, trout, tuna, salmon, and eel are vitamin D rich foods that are also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids offering bonus cardiovascular protection.