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What Is The Difference Between Vitamin D And Vit D3

Do I Have A Vitamin D Deficiency

What’s The Difference Between Vitamin D and D3?

Most people living in first-world countries dont have many vitamin deficiencies. We can get most of the nutrients we need through food alone, and many foods have vitamins added to them to ensure that we get enough. Vitamin D deficiency, however, is still rampant, even among otherwise healthy people.

The main reason why is lack of sun exposure. Contrary to what you might think, just walking around outside on a sunny day usually isnt enough, even if you live on a tropical island. Clouds and shade dramatically cut down on ultraviolet lightthe stuff that your skin needs to produce vitamin Dand window glass blocks it completely. Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health explain that wearing sunscreen with an SPF of eight or more wont allow your body to absorb enough light to make D, although its obviously important to use some anyway to avoid sunburn and long-term skin damage.

Ethnicity also plays a factor. Melanin is a pigment that darkens the skin, but it also reduces the skins ability to absorb vitamin D. African Americans and Hispanics typically have more melanin than white people, so they tend to be more deficient.

Senior citizens are also in jeopardy. A trial in the American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy stated that elderly subjects had insufficient D levels, despite vitamin D intake consistent with national recommendations.

Can Vegans Take A Vitamin D Supplement

Vegans can be more susceptible to a vitamin D deficiency. The double whammy of not getting enough sunlight during the winter months and not being able to eat most of the food sources of vitamin D can make it a little more difficult.

However, even with meat, dairy and eggs off the menu, there are still natural vegan sources of vitamin D like mushrooms for vitamin D2 and lichen for vitamin D3.

As these are limited, a vitamin D supplement is recommended. Especially for vitamin D3 as we dont think many vegans will be chowing down on some lichen!

What Are The Symptoms Of Low Vitamin D

Signs and symptoms of low vitamin D may include

  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Back Pain
  • Impaired Wound Healing

If youre exhibiting any of these signs or symptoms, consult your physician and have a blood panel done. Chances are you have low vitamin d levels. By adding in a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement to your daily routine, you may be able to improve your immune health, relieve chronic fatigue, and improve your overall quality of life. Vitamin D deficiency affects more than 1 billion people or 50% of the world population. Often times, obtaining the recommended amount of vitamin d through sun exposure and diet alone, does not suffice.

RELATED ARTICLE 7 Signs & Symptoms Of Low Vitamin D

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Main Differences Between Vitamin D And D3

Vitamin D

Vitamin D3

It is manufactured in both the plants and the animals

It is manufactured specifically in the animals and is found on the skin of the animals

It exists in five different forms namely vitamin D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5

Vitamin D3 exists as Cholecalciferol

It is not always beneficial to the body. The vitamin D2 might be toxic for the body

Vitamin D3 is proven good for the body

It is a micronutrient that is necessary for the absorption of the calcium, magnesium and phosphate

It is a subtype of vitamin D that is produced by the skin

The listed above are a couple of differences between vitamin D and vitamin D3. From the differences, we can conclude that the fundamental difference between vitamin D3 and vitamin D is that Vitamin D3 is a subgroup of vitamin D which is produced by the exposure of the skin to the sunlight.

Vitamin D and D3 Difference

Let us learn in detail about the vitamin D and D3 difference for your better understanding.

The term vitamin D is kind of a misnomer since you won’t find anything labelled essentially as “vitamin D” in a drug store vitamin aisle. Rather, your decisions will be vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. However, when one notices vitamin D, the implied choice is vitamin D2. The names can be befuddling, on the grounds that on multiple occasions, patients go into the drug store searching for vitamin D and are surprised that there is a D2 and a D3.

1. Is the Vitamin D and the Vitamin D3 Same?

2. Should I Take Vitamin D or D3?

Vitamin D2 Vs D: Which Is Better

What is vitamin D2 and D3?

The two most common types of vitamin D are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Scientists refer to D2 and D3 as ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol, respectively.

Both vitamins D2 and D3 have the same function in the body, but their molecular structures are slightly different. The key distinction is that vitamin D2 is derived from plants, while vitamin D3 is derived from animals, including humans.

Scientists are also debating whether one is better for human health than the other. Both forms can raise vitamin D levels in a persons blood, according to the National Institute of Healths Office of Dietary Supplements.

Vitamin D3 may raise levels more quickly and for a longer period of time than vitamin D2. According to a 2012 study, vitamin D3 appeared to be more effective than vitamin D2 at raising vitamin D levels.

Researchers needed more data before they could be sure how the two forms influenced different groups of people, such as people of various ages, races, and ethnicities, according to the study. Furthermore, the research focused on vitamin D supplements rather than foods.

D3 could also be superior to D2 according to other reports. According to a 2016 report, supplementing with vitamin D3 twice a week for 5 weeks was more successful than supplementing with vitamin D2 in increasing vitamin D levels in adults.

> 70 years 20 mcg (800 IU

Vitamin D deficiency can also be caused by malabsorption disorders like celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

Also Check: What Vitamins Should I Take After Pregnancy

Do Babies Need Vitamin D

Yes, babies under the age of 1 need vitamin D too.

Babies up to 1 year of age who are being breastfed should be given a daily supplement that contains 8.5 10 µg every day to make sure they are reaching recommended levels.17

This still applies if the breastfeeding mother is taking a supplement herself.

However, babies fed infant formulas will not need a vitamin D supplement if they are having more than 500ml of formula a day, as it will already by fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients.

The easiest way to provide breastfed babies with vitamin D is with vitamin D drops.

We have a Vitamin D3 Drop formula that is specifically designed for babies to take daily from birth until they are 12 months old.


  • Yes, babies who are being breastfed need 8.5-10µg vitamin D a day
  • Babies drinking infant formula wont need to supplement as their milk will have been fortified with vitamin D already

Are There Foods That Contain Vitamin D

There are certainly plenty of foods that contain vitamin D. Some of the most prolific levels occur in fish. When it comes to grains, you want to look for cereals and breads that are fortified with vitamin D.

  • Sausage
  • Fortified milk products

As always, talk to your doctor about your diet and your supplement regimen. You dont want to increase your dose of vitamin D if it isnt appropriate and dont forget that taking supplements of any sort is only one part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

Also Check: How To Get Vitamin D To Absorb Better

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 .

Vitamin D From Sunlight

Vitamins D2 and D3, How Do They Differ?

If youre able, get out in the middle of the day for sunlight, which Hunnes explains is best for the natural production of D3. She advises that you try to get sun exposure on a fairly large portion of skin. But Hunnes also notes that some people are simply geographically at a disadvantage. If you live north of Los Angeles and Atlanta , you may need to supplement because, in the winter, there is not enough UV radiation to allow your body to synthesize its own vitamin D, Hunnes explains. Between 5 and 30 minutes of direct midday sun twice a week can be enough to meet your vitamin D3 needs. However, because sun exposure also increases the risk of skin cancer, there actually is no healthcare provider-approved length of time to expose yourself to the sun to get your vitamin D3 fix.

Read Also: What Vitamins Should I Take On A Vegan Diet

Is Vitamin D Or D3 Better

We mentioned that vitamin D2 doesnt affect your overall levels of vitamin D as much as D3. But that doesnt always mean vitamin D3 is the better form. While D3 does appear to be more effective than D2 in raising blood serum levels of vitamin D, Hunnes underscores that the best supplement is the one you can stick to taking. And for most vegans and vegetarians , that makes D2 a more practical method for preventing deficiency. In fact, once either D2 or D3 is converted by your body into the active form of vitamin D, they both benefit your body in the same way.

While D3 is found in some animal products, D2 is found in plant products such as some mushrooms, some plants, and yeast. Vitamin D2 supplements are made from fungus and yeast, not sheeps wool.

Vitamin D2 And/or Vitamin D3

There are two types of vitamin D supplements available for over-the-counter purchase . Vitamin D3 is the type that most experts believe should be utilized in clinical practice . Vitamin D2 is also known as “ergocalciferol,” and vitamin D3 is also known as “cholecalciferol.” This is important for patients who have purchased a dietary supplement that does not indicate the specific type of vitamin D in the product by number but have listed the scientific name. Most experts now believe that the only form that should be purchased is vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is also very acceptable, but in the authors opinion, most individuals should switch to D3. There is a plethora of logical reasons for advocating the use of vitamin D3 over vitamin D2 dietary supplements , including:

Rickets, a defect in bone growth in infancy and childhood, was first identified in 1650 . It was not until 1922 that medical research demonstrated that something in cod liver oil prevented and cured rickets. Additionally, vitamin D2 added to milk in the United States and Europe in the 1930s essentially eliminated rickets or osteomalacia . Currently, fortification with vitamin D2 or D3 has continued to keep rickets scarce in North America. The minimum amount of vitamin D needed to prevent rickets is 100 IU per day in infants with little to no sun exposure.

Also Check: What Is Vitamin B12 Used For

Vegan Vitamin D Spray

If you want a vegan source of the faster-acting vitamin D3 or simply cannot stand taking tablets or capsules, a vitamin D spray could be for you.

Vitamin D sprays act incredibly fast as they bypass the digestive system and deliver vitamin D directly into the bloodstream.

Beware however, that not all vitamin D sprays are vegan, but BetterYou Dlux Vegan Vitamin D Spray is. Give it a go and see if it works for you.

What Happens When You Take Your Daily Vitamin D3

Vitamins &  Minerals

When you take a Vitamin D supplement, the vitamin passes from your bloodstream into your liver.

From here, it goes to the kidneys where it turns into calcitriol.

It is then released back into your bloodstream and can now enter your bodys cells where it attaches to Vitamin D receptors.

At this point, it can get to work regulating the minerals calcium and phosphorous. Clever stuff!

Read Also: Does Vitamin D Help With Headaches

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

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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What Is Vitamin D2

Vitamin D2, just like D3, is not a vitamin but rather a secosteroid. The scientific name for vitamin D2 is ergocalciferol and it is a synthetic calcium regulator. Vitamin D3 is a natural calcium regulator.

WebMD states that both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are the same vitamin. However, vitamin D2 is not absorbed from the sun it is either taken via supplements or obtained through foods, mainly milk and vegetables.

According to the National Library of Medicines Medical Publication website, vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are not interchangeable. Both have had adequate success for the treatment and prevention of rickets, but that is the extent of its use.

In fact, the articles at the NLM website recommend that nobody should supplement with vitamin D2. This is because it doesnt provide adequate benefits vitamin D3 provides everything that vitamin D2 does and more.

Is Too Much Vitamin D Bad For You

Vitamin D3 vs Vitamin D2: Is There A Difference? And Should You Supplement It?

Excessive doses of vitamin D can be harmful. This is because it can lead to abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood, which can cause:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain

  • Dehydration or excessive thirst

  • Heart arrhythmias

  • Kidney failure

If you are wondering whether you should be taking a vitamin D supplement, it always helps to ask your healthcare provider. They can help you determine your personal vitamin D needs.

And remember, if you dont have insurance, you can still get a vitamin D screening and treatment with GoodRx Care.

Also Check: What Drinks Are High In Vitamin D

Difference Between Vitamin D And D3

The D vitamins are fat-solvent vitamins that assume a significant job in calcium absorption and bone health, just as immune function. Our skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, yet due to the skin cancer risk, numerous individuals avoid sun presentation or use sunscreen, which keeps the body from producing vitamin D. Numerous kinds of milk and dairy products, alongside squeezed orange, are likewise fortified with vitamin D. In any case, a considerable lot of us do not get enough vitamin D and need to take a supplement. There are two forms of vitamin D dietary supplements: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 , and it is imperative to understand their differences while picking which vitamin D supplement to take. Here, in this article, we will study about the vitamin D and D3, and the difference between vitamin D and D3 in detail.

Let us first learn in brief about what is vitamin D and vitamin D3.

Vitamin D and D3

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a significant vitamin obtained from sunlight. It is fundamental for solid bones and enables the body to utilize calcium from the diet. It is normally present in fish, fish liver oils, egg yolk, and so on. Lower levels of vitamin D may lead to cancers, cardiovascular diseases, extreme asthma in children, and so forth.

Vitamin D3

Let us learn about the main differences between the vitamin D and the vitamin D3. take a look at the table given below.


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