June 17, 2015

Director's Letter 


MY Health

All interest in health starts with 'MY' health, as it should. At an exhibit GrassrootsHealth did at the American Public Health Association years ago, I expected all the attendees to come to our booth and talk about their patients, the community health, etc.  100% of all visitors to our booth (about vitamin D, of course) started with "I"... then followed by something that described a personal or family condition.  That interest itself by individuals is what makes GrassrootsHealth work. The data that you share, the tests that you take, the spreading of the word with your own health in mind helps others.

Today, we need some more feedback from you to help keep us focused on what's most meaningful to you. We are currently getting involved in a number of other nutrient based projects and have some questions of you. Please take a few minutes to let us know more about your interests and how we can best help with your health management.

Please click here and take a quick survey to let us know your opinions on health conditions, nutrients, and home health tests. Thanks so much for your input!!! You are helping shape our organization and its benefits to you.

Have a beautiful day.



Carole Baggerly 

Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization

Moving Research into Practice NOW!

D2 vs D3 - What is the Difference? 


The most prevalent form of vitamin D found in drug and health stores is vitamin D3. This is the form that is naturally made in your body with sun exposure. It is what GrassrootsHealth scientists recommend. But doctors typically prescribe vitamin D2. Why? Until recently, D2 was the only form that could be prescribed and that insurance could cover. The standard of care for deficient patients (< 12 ng/ml) is to prescribe 50,000 IU vitamin D2 weekly for 8 weeks, and then 50,000 IU every other week for the rest of their life (source: Holick).

Vitamin D2 - What is it?

Vitamin D2 is also known as "ergocalciferol." It is created by radiating a compound (ergosterol) from the mold ergot.

Vitamin D3 - What is it?

Vitamin D3 is also known as "cholecalciferol." Vitamin D3 (other than that made in the skin) is made by irradiating wool sources of 7-dehydrocholesterol (from cholesterol). So, it is made similarly to D2 - but by radiating wool, instead of mold. Wool is a natural source from an animal, similar to our skin, so it mimics the way our skin produces vitamin D from exposure to the sun. 

D2 vs. D3 - which is better?

From an interview with Robert Heaney, MD and Research Director for GrassrootsHealth:

"There are 2 differences between D2 and D3. The first one: D2 is a synthetic product that is derived from plant precursors. D3 is a natural product that's produced in all animals upon exposure to sunlight. And the second difference between the two of them is that D2, being somewhat unnatural, is metabolized by the body more rapidly. That is it's thrown away, it's not utilized as efficiently whereas D3 is conserved by the body and used. So you get more effect if you use D3. And although both forms of Vitamin D are relatively inexpensive, as it turns out D3 is today somewhat cheaper than D2." 


Mark A. Moyad, MD, MPH explains how D3 is more effective than D2 in this Medscape article. He cites it being less toxic, more potent, having a longer shelf life, is used in more trials, and is better able to raise 25(OH) D blood levels. He also explains how D2 and D3 were first created. 

Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, another GrassrootsHealth scientist, writes a blog about vitamin D. In this blog he compares D2 and D3, citing two studies that have shown D3 to be more effective in raising 25(OH) D blood levels. But, since a doctor can only prescribe D2, he explains how he still treats patients successfully using D2.  


If you are supplementing outside of a doctor's orders -vitamin D3 is recommended.

What should you do if your doctor prescribes D2 to you?

GrassrootsHealth recommends taking D3 based on the information above. Ask your doctor if he can write you a prescription which specifically calls out D3/cholecalciferol. D3-50,000 IU is also available for online ordering. Have a discussion with your doctor and ask if you can take vitamin D3 instead. He might want you to take 50,000 IU and not know that it is available in D3 by a few manufacturers (Google search 'vitamin D3 50000 IU').  You may find that it is cheaper than your prescription and more effective. 

Paper of the Week 

Complications of vitamin D deficiency from the foetus to the infant: One cause, one prevention,
but whose responsibility?
Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
March 2015
Wolfgang H�gler, PD MD
Department of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Dr. H�gler completed his paediatric training at the Department of Paediatrics at Innsbruck University Hospital in Innsbruck, Austria. Following a clinical and research fellowship at the Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Children's Hospital at Westmead, in Sydney, Australia, he worked as an Associate Professor in Paediatrics at the Medical University in Innsbruck, Austria before moving to the United Kingdom. H�gler's current research focuses on novel measures of mobility, bone strength and density and growth disorders. His group is currently investigating the role of whole body vibration on mobility and bone strength in children with osteogenesis imperfecta, as well as the complications of the rare growth disorder ALS deficiency on glucose metabolism and bone strength, including novel treatment options.  His commitment to postgraduate education has led him to chair the endocrine branch of the IPOKRaTES Foundation. He organizes paediatric endocrine specialist seminars across the globe.

In this paper, Dr. H�gler is demanding action NOW from all health care providers. He argues that fetuses have rights as humans, and that vitamin D should be considered on the same level as vaccinations. He introduces his topic with a scenario, one that is all too common...

Somewhere in the northern hemisphere at the end of spring, a 1 month-old baby of African origin presents to an A&E Department with a prolonged hypocalcaemic seizure and a serum calcium of

1.5 mmol/L (.6 ng/ml!). The doctors suspect and later confirm severe vitamin D deficiency as the cause of the hypocalcaemic seizure and prescribe vitamin D and calcium in treatment doses followed by supplementation doses. Case closed? Certainly not! If the doctors would stop there, they would miss that the baby also has subclinical signs of hypocalcaemic dilated cardiomyopathy or even congenital rickets on X-rays.

-->  If doctors would stop there, they would miss that the baby's siblings at home have active rickets and that the mother and many family members have severe osteomalacia and muscle weakness.

-->   If the doctors would stop there, they would fail to notice and address that the family's intake of calcium and other nutrients is very low for cultural reasons, making them extremely vulnerable to complications from additional vitamin D deficiency.

--> If doctors stopped there, they would fail to inform the family that due to their darker skin they will always remain at high risk of vitamin D deficiency, particularly in every single winter and spring to come (the 'vitamin D winter'), and that the whole family needs lifelong supplements if they continue living in that geographic location. But that is still not all.

-->  If doctors stopped there, they would fail to address that nobody had informed the mother about the need to take supplements during pregnancy and her high risk of complications from vitamin D deficiency, and that nobody had started her baby on vitamin D at birth.

H�gler's paper gives a great overview of vitamin D; a picture of vitamin D deficiency worldwide; the relationship of calcium to vitamin D; the effects of vitamin D deficiency on pregnancy; as well as some of the extreme infant diseases caused as a result of vitamin D deficient mothers. He goes on to recommend universal vitamin D
supplementation for infants and/or food fortification to the extent of 400 IU/day to prevent rickets. Even though this recommendation has been standard practice, H�gler discusses making health care providers legally responsible to monitor vitamin D supplementation and maps out Europe's compliance with this directive (the UK records only 5-20% compliance!).

H�gler's paper is a passionate call to action to health care providers to sit up and take notice of the vitamin D deficiency epidemic.

View Abstract
Editor's Letter 


I really enjoyed reading H�gler's paper this week. It really highlighted how traditional medicine stops too soon. I love how he worked backward from the incident in the hospital to the core of the problem - the need for the mother to take vitamin D3 during pregnancy so that her child could get a fair start in the world. Funny, we have a project going on about that... 

If you can't start in pregnancy, then you work your way back one more level, to understanding your vitamin D level, your skin tone, how you make vitamin D and how much you truly need for your health. We all know this starts by testing. If you don't know your level you can't figure out what to change. This is our D*action project, that has been live since 2008 and has over 7,000 participants.

As you go out to the world and talk about vitamin D - let pregnant women know to start NOW! or let others know that it is never too late.

Thank you for your support,


Susan Siljander       

Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & 

Research Organization  

Moving Research into Practice NOW!
Please take a moment to complete this survey and give GrassrootsHealth valuable feedback
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Your participation in this project funds all the GrassrootsHealth research and promotion.

Clear information on vitamin D and pregnancy  


Announcing Nationwide Campaign - free blood tests for pregnant women in the United States
Read Announcement

Interview by Dr. Mercola
about Protect our Children NOW!

View Interview  


D*certified Practitioners

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Vitamin D & Calcium, Fractures & Kidney Stones - What do we do?
Interview with Robert Heaney, MD
Creighton University
GrassrootsHealth Research Director
View Transcript

Vitamin D2 and/or Vitamin D3
Mark A. Moyad, MD, MPH
View Article

Vitamin D2 vs. Vitamin D3
Dr. Michael F. Holick
View Blog

Current US Standard of Care

National Institutes of Health

Office of Dietary Supplements

Vitamin D fact sheet 


Paper of the Week 

Complications of vitamin D deficiency from the foetus to the infant: One cause, one prevention,

but whose responsibility?

Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

March 2015

Wolfgang Hgler, PD MD

Department of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom


View Abstract

Vitamin D Council profiles paper

From Newsletter

June 15, 2015

Read article


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