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Are Vitamin D And Vitamin D3 The Same

Should I Take Vitamin D Or D3

Vitamin D2 vs. D3: VERY DIFFERENT

Vitamin D and vitamin D3 are each effective vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D2 is approved in the treatment of hypoparathyroidism, vitamin D resistant rickets, and hypophosphatemia. Both supplements are commonly used for vitamin D supplementation.

Studies have shown that vitamin D3 supplements may be superior in raising the bodys vitamin D stores. There are many health benefits to vitamin D supplementation, but your doctor should use lab tests to recommend the amount of vitamin D you should take and which form.

What Are Some Side Effects Associated With Taking Too Much Vitamin D

There arent any immediate side effects associated with consuming too much vitamin D.

However, there have been reports of kidney stones forming due to excessive levels of vitamin D.

There are also concerns about whether vitamin D supplements could increase your risk of cancer.

In fact, according to one study, women who consumed more than 10,000 IU of vitamin D per week had a higher chance of developing breast cancer.

Its essential to remember that vitamin D is naturally produced by our bodies, but its possible to overdose on the nutrient.

Its always best to speak to your doctor before increasing your intake of vitamin D.

Vitamin D2 To D3 Conversion

D2 and D3 are variants of the same vitamin, and perform the same basic functions in the body. While both are fat-soluble, studies show that D3 is significantly better at raising vitamin D levels.â¹

Who should take vitamin D2?

If youâre a committed vegetarian, then vitamin D2 is the only dietary or supplemental form of vitamin D that complies with your diet, beyond the D3 you make yourself when your skin is exposed to sunshine.

Who should take vitamin D3?

If youâre not vegan or vegetarian, most studies¹Ⱐsupport taking D3 supplements¹¹, as it is better converted by the bodyâmore than twice as effective,¹² in fact!

Read Also: What Vitamin Makes Your Bones Strong

What Specifically Is Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is also called cholecalciferol and is not a real vitamin. Vitamin D3 is a secosteroid.

A secosteroid is actually a steroid. The four rings that combine to complete a steroid are broken in a secosteroid, so you dont get any of the benefits or pitfalls associated with steroids.

While vitamin D3 is stored in the fat of the human body, it is metabolized by the liver. Essentially, when the body needs vitamin D, the liver metabolizes it and ensures it gets where it needs to go.

Truthfully, the body needs vitamin D3 all of the time so the metabolizing action is continual. Vitamin D3 ensures that the body can absorb calcium. Regardless, the body can store up to 60 days worth of vitamin D in the body.

Vitamin D3 is more potent than any of its vitamin counterparts according to the Harvard School of Public Health. It is for this reason that vitamin D3 is typically used for supplementation, although vitamin D3 is sometimes combined with the D2 for a more potent dose.

Whats The Difference Between Vitamin D And Vitamin D3

Is Vitamin D the Same as Vitamin D3? A Doctor Breaks It Down

There are two possible forms of vitamin D in the human body: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Both D2 and D3 are simply called âvitamin D,â so thereâs no meaningful difference between vitamin D3 and just vitamin D.

That being said, it can be worth understanding how vitamin D2 and D3 specifically are different from each otherâso hereâs a quick rundown:

  • Vitamin D3 is the form of vitamin D the human body makes when sunlight strikes the skin. The body canât manufacture vitamin D2.

  • Vitamin D3 is found in animal sources of foods, like fatty fish and fish oil, liver, organ meats, and egg yolks.

  • Vitamin D2 primarily comes from plant sources , and forms when certain kinds of plants are exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun.

  • Vitamin D2 is also less expensive to produce, so it is the form most commonly used to fortify foods, like milk, cereal products, and orange juice.

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Which Form Of Vitamin D Is More Beneficial

Form matters when it comes to supplementing with vitamin D. According to Bannan, D3 is the body’s preferred form of vitamin D because it’s produced in the body naturally and is more efficient at increasing blood levels. In fact, D3 is 87% more potent and effective at raising and maintaining serum 25D levels than D2. And since 25D levels are your status biomarker, that’s a majorly impactful difference.

D2 is significantly less effective because of the structural differences that affect the way the body metabolizes the vitamin. Vitamin D2 also has increased catabolism and its metabolites have weaker binding affinity to the vitamin-D-binding protein .

“These two nutrients are not biologically equivalent or interchangeable,” Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, mbg’s vice president of scientific affairs, previously wrote for mindbodygreen when dissecting D3’s scientifically proven superiority over D2. “One is effective , and the other is way less effective . Any suggestion that vitamin D3 and D2 are both good options falls into the ‘bad science’ bucket.”

When it comes to bioactivity, vitamin D3 has been shown to raise free 25D levelsan up-and-coming biomarker that may be more sensitive than total 25Dwith greater efficacy than D2. “This is yet one more compelling piece of evidence cementing the superior bioefficacy of D3 over D2,” Ferira concludes.

Vitamin D Vs D: Which Is More Effective

Studies have suggested that vitamin D3 is more effective than D2 at increasing 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels in the body.

One study administered either vitamin D2 or D3 to females aged 66-97 who had a deficiency. Results showed that vitamin D3 increased 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels almost twice as efficiently compared to vitamin D2.3 A review study that analyzed 10 studies comparing 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels after vitamin D3 or D2 consumption found similar results.1

A 2015 study measured the sustainability of 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels after vitamin D3 or D2 was administered. Vitamin D3 was shown to sustain 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels for a longer duration than vitamin D2.4

Thus, taking vitamin D3 may be more beneficial than a D2 supplement. However, more studies need to be completed comparing the effectiveness of vitamin D2 versus D3 based on sex and age.1

Both vitamin D and D3 supplements can be purchased. If the supplement is called a Vitamin D supplement, it may contain both forms. Vitamin D3 supplements contain only the D3 form.

Consult your healthcare provider to determine which supplement is best for you.


  • Tripkovic, L. et al. . The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 95: 1357-1364. Doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.031070
  • Vitamin D. . National Institutes of Health. Accessed on Feb. 3 2022. Retrieved from
  • Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

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    Is Vitamin D The Same As Vitamin D3 A Doctor Breaks It Down

    You know vitamin D is essential. The “sunshine vitamin” helps your body absorb calcium, leading to stronger bones – and when you’re not getting enough, you can feel sluggish and tired. But if you’ve discussed a vitamin D supplement with your doctor and find yourself standing in the aisle suddenly confused by the vitamin D3 label splashed across the bottles, you’re not alone. POPSUGAR spoke with Shoshana Ungerleider, MD, an internal medicine doctor in San Francisco, to get a helpful breakdown of these vitamins and how they work together to keep you feeling your best.

    Is It Ok To Take Vitamin D Everyday

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    Current guidelines say adults shouldn’t take more than the equivalent of 100 micrograms a day. But vitamin D is a ‘fat-soluble’ vitamin, so your body can store it for months and you don’t need it every day. That means you could equally safely take a supplement of 20 micrograms a day or 500 micrograms once a month.

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    Should Seniors Take Vitamin D Or Vitamin D3

    Yes, vitamin D is an important vitamin for the senior population as it supports immune function and also plays an important role in calcium absorption. Vitamin D is one of several important vitamins for seniors. The recommendations for supplemental dosing increase with increasing age, so you should check with your healthcare provider to get the recommended dose for your age and health status

    What Are The Differences Between Vitamin D And Vitamin D3

    Both Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 are processed in the body by the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which increases 25D levels.

    Vitamin D2 referred to as Vitamin D, is largely human-made and derived from plant sources. Vitamin D is produced by plants when theyre exposed to UV light .

    Vitamin D2 is commonly found in fortified foods, such as milk and cereal products or in supplement form. While this form is often pressed into a tablet supplement and consumed by people adhering to restricted diets, your body doesnt actually produce this form of vitamin D naturally, making it a poor quality nutrient when it comes to fulfilling your daily requirement of vitamin D .

    In food, vitamin D is measured in micrograms with the suggested daily intake of 25-100 micrograms per day is needed to maintain optimal blood levels .

    Examples of Foods High in Vitamin D:

    • Fatty Fish = 9-17 micrograms per 3oz serving
    • Mushrooms = 7.9 micrograms per ½ cup serving
    • Whole Milk = 3.2 micrograms per 1 cup serving
    • Orange Juice = 2.5 micrograms per 1 cup
    • Eggs = 1.1 micrograms per 1 large egg

    As you can see from the examples above, even the best food source of vitamin D doesnt contain nearly enough micrograms to provide sufficient delivery and function within the human body. Vitamin D2 is used as an inexpensive, low quality, and less effective option to boost nutrient quality as compared to Vitamin D3 .

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    Similarities Between Vitamin D2 And Vitamin D3

    While their chemical makeup and sources differ, vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 have much more in common. When ingested, both vitamin D2 and D3 have to pass through the liver and kidneys, where they get processed into the active, usable form of vitamin D. Both forms of vitamin D are readily available as over-the-counter oral supplements. However, high doses of vitamin D2 are only available through a prescription.

    Why Take Vitamin D And K

    Vitamine: Is Vitamin D3 The Same As Vitamin D 25 Hydroxy

    Vitamin K has similarities with vitamin D. Its fat-soluble, found in egg yolks and liver, as well as some plant foods, and, like vitamin D, it assists calcium in promoting strong bones. K works with D to make sure calcium gets where it needs to go without causing a problem.

    Heres what we mean: your blood levels of calcium need to stay at a certain level. When you dont get enough calcium from your diet, one of vitamin Ds functions is to take it from your bones and move it into your bloodstream. Obviously, this isnt ideal, but if you generally get enough calcium in your diet, it isnt cause for concern.

    While D takes calcium from your bones, it doesnt control where it ends up in the body. Vitamin K steps in as a protective measure, seeing that the calcium doesnt accumulate in places that could be dangerous, such as the blood vessels or kidneys. For this reason, some people believe that any vitamin D you take should be supplemented with vitamin K. In cases where vitamin D intake was too high, some subjects ended up with too much calcium in their blood, suggesting that, if taken, vitamin K might have helped to regulate the buildup and prevent the problem.

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    How Many Minutes Of Sun Do You Need For Vitamin D

    Regular sun exposure is the most natural way to get enough vitamin D. To maintain healthy blood levels, aim to get 1030 minutes of midday sunlight, several times per week. People with darker skin may need a little more than this. Your exposure time should depend on how sensitive your skin is to sunlight.

    Is Vitamin D3 The Same As Vitamin D

    First, it helps to know where vitamin D comes from. You can get this key nutrient from three main sources: the sun, food, and supplements. But which form of vitamin D is present in these three sources of vitamin D?

    Is there a difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3? Technically, vitamin D describes both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3, which differ in a few ways but function similarly in the body. Think of vitamin D as the umbrella term for a nutrient that comes in several different forms, similar to the B family of vitamins that includes thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, and others.

    In foods and supplements, vitamin D comes in two primary forms that differ chemically only in their structures and are well absorbed in the small intestine.

    • Vitamin D2 . This nutrient form is made from plants and is added to some foods and supplements to fortify them with vitamin D. Sources of vitamin D2 include mushrooms , fortified foods , and some dietary supplements.
    • Vitamin D3 . The human body naturally produces this nutrient when you expose your skin to the sun, however for vitamin D to be produced in the skin to its active form, face arms and legs need to be exposed to direct sunlight without sunscreen. Its also found in animal foods and dietary supplements. Sources of vitamin D3 include fatty fish , fish liver oils, beef liver, and egg yolks.

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    How Do Vitamin D2 And D3 Differ

    There are two main kinds of vitamin DD2 and D3 . D2 is found in plant foods, including fungi like mushrooms and yeasts. D3 is only available in animal foods, and its the type of vitamin D your body makes on its own when its exposed to UV light.

    D2 is inexpensive to produce, so its often added to foodssuch as milkto boost their vitamin D content. However, D2 is not as well absorbed by the body as D3. Some studies indicate that D3 may be almost twice as effective at raising levels of vitamin D in the blood as D2 . If you supplement with vitamin D to achieve optimal levels, nutrition experts generally recommend choosing vitamin D3 supplements.

    According to an American Journal of Clinical Nutritionreport, medical literature regarded D2 and D3 as equivalent and interchangeable for many years, yet this presumption of equivalence is based on studies of rickets prevention in infants conducted 70 years ago

    Despite an emerging body of evidence suggesting several plausible explanations for the greater bioefficacy of vitamin D3, the form of vitamin D used in major preparations of prescriptions in North America is vitamin D2.

    What Is Better Taking Vitamin D Supplements Or Getting Vitamin D From Natural Sources

    Vitamin D – Vitamin D2, Vitamin D3 and Calcitriol | Doctor Mike Hansen

    Getting vitamin D naturally is far better for you than taking supplements and it isnt because supplements dont work. In the case of vitamin D, it is possible to take too much, which can lead to certain toxicities.

    However, when vitamin D is absorbed in the body from through the skin, it is not possible for you to overdose. You see, the skin simply stops absorbing the vitamins when there is enough stored in the body. After that, you are just getting exposure to the sun.

    When it comes to supplementation, vitamin D supplements are effective. However, the body doesnt absorb as many nutrients from the supplement as it does from the sun.

    Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Vitamin D And Vit D3

    Vitamin D3 Vs D: Final Points

    When you shop for an OTC vitamin D supplement, you will likely find vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This is the form of vitamin D that your body makes through exposure to UV sunlight. Vitamin D3 is an animal-sourced product. If you are looking for a plant-based supplement, look for vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol. If you have kidney problems, be sure to talk with your provider before taking OTC vitamin D.

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    Do They Come From The Same Sources

    Vitamin D3 is found in animal sources, such as oily fish and liver, whilst D is plant-based and most commonly sourced from mushrooms grown in certain conditions under UV light. Even the Vitamin D3 included in fortified foods mainly comes from lanolin, a grease from sheeps wool and is therefore not suitable for vegans.

    D3 is created in our skin when exposed to UVB rays from sunlight, which is why its often known as The Sunshine Vitamin, and why so many healthcare organisations recommend it as an essential supplement.

    However, it is possible to obtain D3 from certain plant-based sources. Vivo Lifes Vegan Vitamin D3 supplement is derived from algae and provides 2,000 International Units – the recommended daily amount for adults according to the Vitamin D Council. This liquid supplement also contains Vitamin K2 which increases our ability to absorb Vitamin D3. This is especially helpful for those suffering from digestive disorders, which can often affect the bodys natural ability to absorb Vitamin D in any form. Finally, the D3 found in algae has a naturally high bioavailability which means that more of it is able to be used in our bodies.

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    Are Vitamin D And Vitamin D3 The Same Thing

    This is a tricky question as, technically, there is no such thing as singular Vitamin D. Vitamin D actually refers to a grouping of compounds which all have similar effects within the body, known as Vitamins D1-5. If youre looking at the nutritional lists on supplements, youll see that the two most common options for Vitamin D are D2 and D3, and D2 is commonly referred to as Vitamin D. So, for the purposes of clarity – whenever we mention Vitamin D in this guide, we are referring to D2. Well always call D3, D3 .

    Vitamins D and D3 are both fat soluble vitamins which play roles in keeping our immune system healthy and helping with calcium absorption. Vitamin D is only available from plant sources, such as mushrooms, whilst D3 is usually sourced from animal products.

    We can also obtain all of the Vitamin D3 we require via sunlight, but throughout the winter this is harder to achieve with shorter days and more clouds. Even during the summer, it can be difficult to absorb enough through our skin due to the need to protect ourselves against the risk of skin cancer, either by covering up or applying copious amounts of sunscreen.


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