Ergocalciferol is a white, colorless crystal, insoluble in water, soluble in organic solvents, and slightly soluble in vegetable oils. It is affected by air and by light. Ergosterol or provitamin D 2 is found in plants and yeast and has no antirachitic activity.
Ergocalciferol is vitamin D2. Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium from the stomach and for the functioning of calcium in the body.
Ergocalciferol is produced with the plants, whereas, cholecalciferol is synthesized your skin after contact with sunlight (ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays). Dietary supplements may contain in either of the two forms of vitamin D, or maybe at times both options.
Ergocalciferol, or Vitamin D2, is a fat-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant and anti-carcinogen. Vitamin D plays a role in skin cell metabolism and growth. Therefore, it has shown some effectiveness in treating itching and flaking which are common symptoms of this skin problem. Although Vitamin D creams are available over the counter, the active Vitamin D form is only available in prescription creams or supplements. Although it normally takes several weeks to see results from topical ergocalciferol treatment, Vitamin D creams have few side effects, unlike steroid containing creams. Additionally, because one of the vitamin d benefits is to act as a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin D can play a role in preventing the premature aging of skin and damage to the skin structure.
Vitamin D is typically low in maternal milk, and to prevent deficiency and rickets in exclusively breastfed infants, supplementation may be necessary, starting within the first two months of life. Many lactating women have been found to be vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
Vitamin D may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased or decreased in the blood, altering effects or causing potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
Vitamin D may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Vitamin D is of interest for patients with chronic kidney disease. Use of vitamin D analogs has been found to increase bone density in patients with kidney disease. The effect of vitamin D itself is not clear. Vitamin D increases vitamin D status and decreases PTH levels but clinical study is lacking. Further research is required before conclusions can be drawn.
Vitamin D has been found to have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects, and it may play a role in preventing autoimmune disorders. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Vitamin D may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.