Research and new developments in osteomalacia
There are different forms of vitamin D – vitamin D2 comes from plants but vitamin D3 is provided by eating fish and eggs, or exposure to sunlight. In general, vitamins D2 and D3 have been considered as good as each other, although some small new studies have suggested that vitamin D3 is actually more effective. A recent review suggested that there’s no difference between the effectiveness of vitamin D2 or D3 when taken as a tablet. At the moment, the vitamin D provided in multivitamin tablets can be either vitamin D2 or D3, but many companies are now moving towards using vitamin D3.
Low levels of vitamin D are very common in the population of north European countries. In winter, as many as one in eight people in the UK may have deficient levels of vitamin D in their blood (although very few people get osteomalacia), and slightly reduced levels are present in many more people. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with many diseases, but it is unclear if taking vitamin D supplements helps to prevent or treat these diseases. Research is taking place to try to find out whether there are wider benefits to taking vitamin D supplements.