Sources of Vitamin D - Cholecalciferol and Ergocalciferol
I think "natural" vitamin D is a bit of a misnomer when talking about oral supplement forms. It does exist in a minority of products -- those that distill it from fish oil.
However, I find that most supplements contain vitamin D which is synthesized from lanolin (oil in sheep's wool). What you get may look like the vitamin D molecule, but it's not naturally occurring. It's manufactured.
Being a science geek (:-) you'll know that the manufactured molecules of vitamin D won't be exactly identical (on the subatomic level) to naturally occurring vitamin D.
I think you are confused about the different sources of vitamin D. I'd recommend rereading what I wrote on my natural vitamin D page.
If anything is a misnomer, it would be calling vitamin D a "vitamin."
It's not a vitamin, actually, since the term vitamin is used when an organism cannot synthesize it in sufficient quantities - so it must be obtained through diet. Our skin is capable of producing all the vitamin D we need under the proper conditions.
Our ancestors did not have to worry about getting enough vitamin D. We do now because of our change in lifestyle.
- Most of us spend the vast majority of our time indoors.
- Most of us have moved too far away from the equator – so we can only make vitamin D during the warmer months.
- Most of us have been conditioned to slather on the sunscreen when we do go outside.
- Most of us shower after spending any time outside because we've gotten sweaty – that washes away any vitamin D the body may have been able to make.
We are blocking our natural ability to make vitamin D through proper sun exposure
. This has created a great epidemic of vitamin D deficient
That leaves us with oral supplementation. There are two forms of non-prescription vitamin D supplements available to us – cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol.Cholecalciferol
is natural vitamin D, also called vitamin D3. Cholecalciferol is actually a prehormone. It is made by purifying the fat of lambs' wool.
I assure you it is in fact the EXACT same molecule that you would make in your skin. Perhaps you would prefer me to call it the bioidentical human form of vitamin D? I don't think most people would understand that term – besides, it's bulky.
I can go into detail about what happens to cholecalciferol after it is absorbed into the skin or taken orally if you (or anyone else) would like (just leave a comment below). But I don't think most people are all that interested in those details. Ergocalciferol
, on the other hand, is not a natural form of vitamin D. Also called calciferol or vitamin D2, it is made from radiating fungus. Vegans like to take this form because it is not derived from animals.
However, ergocalciferol is foreign to the human body. It is about half as potent as cholecalciferol yet has much greater chance of toxicity, especially at the higher dosages required to improve vitamin D levels
So there you have it. Cholecalciferol, also called vitamin D3, is a completely natural form of vitamin D. It is the EXACT same molecule no matter if you make it from the sun or take it orally.
Let me know if you have any other questions about this (comment below).
Wishing you the best of health,
Melissa How to Boost Your Immune System