[en] Cholecalciferol/pharmacology/therapeutic use ; Dietary Supplements ; Ergocalciferols/pharmacology/therapeutic use ; Humans ; Molecular Structure ; Vitamin D Deficiency/drug therapy ; Vitamins/pharmacology/therapeutic use
[en] PURPOSE: Nearly one billion people around the world are deficient in vitamin D and need to be supplemented. Vitamin D is available in medicines and fortified foods. It is available in two forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). KEY POINTS: The pharmacopeiae consider these steroid hormones as equivalent and interchangeable. However, several studies have showed that serum level of 25(OH)D is increased more effectively with vitamin D3 than vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 has shorter plasma half-life and a lower affinity for the vitamin D binding protein, the hepatic vitamin D hydroxylase and the vitamin D receptor. CONCLUSION: Vitamin D2 should not be regarded anymore as suitable for supplementation or fortification. Currently though, it is still the most used in some countries such as Portugal and Australia.