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What’s The Difference Between Vitamin D3 And Vitamin D

What Is The Difference Between Vitamin D And Vitamin D3

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

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women’s…

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  • There is absolutely no difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3.
  • It is vitamin D3 that is absorbed from the sun and aids in the process of calcium being absorbed into the body.
  • Vitamin D is a fat-soluble essential vitamin. It cannot be produced in the body on its own.

There is absolutely no difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3. When the term vitamin D is used, it is meant to describe any D vitamin, D1, D2, or D3.

Vitamin D3 is the vitamin that most people are referring to when they talk about vitamin D.

Getting Enough Vitamin D3

Unfortunately, sunlight just isnt a reliable resource for vitamin D3there are too many factors that get in the way of consistent exposure, ranging from climate to SPF usage to skin tone. Thats why as many as 75% of Americans are not getting enough vitamin D from diet and sunlight alone.

Its also why we opt for vitamin D3 in our vitaminswe want to make sure youre meeting your daily needs. Essential for Women was even clinically shown to increase vitamin D levels over 12 weeks, as compared to no change in a placebo group.*


  • National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from National Institutes of Health
  • Lite, Jordan. 2009, March 23. Vitamin D…in the U.S., study says. Scientific American. Retrieved from Scientific American
  • Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. . doi: 10.17226/13050
  • Itkonen, S. T., Skaffari, E., Saaristo, P., Saarnio, E. M., Erkkola, M., Jakobsen, J., Lamberg-Allardt, C. . Effects of vitamin D2-fortified breadv. supplementation with vitamin D2 or D3 on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D metabolites: an 8-week randomised-controlled trial in young adult Finnish women. British Journal of Nutrition, 115, 12321239. doi: 10.1017/s0007114516000192
  • 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.

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    Get Your Levels Checked

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend routine vitamin D screening in asymptomatic adults, therefore, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider if you think you may have a vitamin D deficiency.

    Before you start taking vitamin D3 supplements, ask for a blood test to check your levels. That way, you know you’re taking a dosage that is both adequate and safe for your needs.

    What’s The Difference Between Vitamin D3 And Vitamin D2

    What is vitamin D2 and D3?

    Without diving deep into the science too much, the best way to understand the difference between Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2 is to understand their sources.

    Vitamin D3 is commonly found and extracted using animal products like cod liver oil while Vitamin D2 are sourced from plants and other non-animal products like mushrooms and yeast. The latter has been described as less effective compared to its D3 counterpart.

    But what if you don’t want to consume animal by-products?

    Vegan Vitamin D3

    The great thing about certain Vitamin D3 supplements is that some are vegan, thanks to a little yet empowered plant species called lichen.

    Lichens are closely associated with fungus and algae and are commonly found on rocks, trees and mountainsides. The best part? They’re abundant and cause no harm to the environment and animals.

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    Are Vitamin D And D3 The Same Thing

    Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is one of the forms of vitamin D. Both D2 and D3 need to be converted by the liver and then by the kidneys into the main form of vitamin D that circulates in your body. But D3 appears to more effectively raise our levels of active vitamin D than D2 which is why you may have heard it suggested by everyone from healthcare providers to wellness blogs. And, because its worth repeating, its one of two forms of vitamin D that are essential for humans. D3 is fat-soluble, which means your body absorbs it along with fats in your diet.

    You might have also heard it referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Thats because your body can make vitamin D3 in the skin when exposed to direct sunlight. Your body converts a type of cholesterol called 7-dehydrocholesterol into vitamin D3 through a reaction thats kicked off by ultraviolet B rays.

    And there are some key differences between these two critical forms, vitamin D2 and D3. Although many foods are now fortified with vitamin D2such as orange juice, whole wheat bread, cereals, and milkit is naturally only found in plant sources, such as mushrooms and yeast. Vitamin D3, on the other hand, is found in animal sources, including egg yolks, some fatty fish such as salmon, and liver.

    Your Skin Produces Vitamin D3

    Another significant difference between D1 and D2 and D3 is that your skin produces Vitamin D3 when exposed to sunlight, which is the primary source of vitamin D for many people. To be more specific, the ultraviolet B radiation in sunlight causes your skin to produce vitamin D3 from naturally occurring 7-dehydrocholesterol compounds in your skin.

    In laymans terms, sunlight equals vitamin D, though many people dont get their recommended daily allowances this way because they spend too much time indoors or cover up when outside. If you struggle to get enough sun or are worried about your vitamin D levels during winter, you may need to boost your intake with manufactured supplements.

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    Whats The Difference Between Vitamin D2 And Vitamin D3

    Vitamin D2 vs. vitamin D3: may the showdown commence!

    The main difference between vitamin D2 and D3 is the sources that they come from. As we touched on earlier, vitamin D3 can be produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, as well as being present in some animal sources. Vitamin D2 on the other hand, comes from a few plant-based sources, including some types of wild mushrooms and fortified foods such as cereal.

    Although both vitamins may come from different sources, they behave in the same way in the body. However, some studies have shown that vitamin D3 may be more effective at raising and sustaining blood serum levels than D2.

    Vitamin D2 Vs D: Which Is Better

    Vitamin D2 vs D3 (Vitamin D3 or Vitamin D2…Which Is Better?)

    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.

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    Identification Of Studies And Quality Assessment

    A systematic search of the current literature was completed via the use of the ISI Web of Knowledge and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials , and the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trials Number Register and databases were also searched for any unpublished trials the search covered from January 1950 to November 2011. Search terms used were as follows: vitamin D2 and D3 or ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol and supplementation and 25 hydroxyvitamin D.

    Two authors screened article titles and abstracts to identify studies that may be suitable for analysis. Full articles were independently assessed for final inclusion by using a scoring system for assessing quality . All authors agreed on the final decision of the studies to be included.

    Vitamin D3 Is More Effective At Improving Your Overall Vitamin D Levels

    Both vitamin D2 and D3 each have their own benefits, but they are not totally equal when it comes to increasing the overall vitamin D levels in your blood.

    Both vitamins are absorbed into your bloodstream, but the liver metabolises them in different ways. Vitamin D3 is better than D2 at improving the overall vitamin D status. Read our Vitamin D3: Usage, Health Benefits & Side Effects guide for more information.

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    Whats The Difference Between Vitamin D D2 & D3

    To make it easy to understand, lets break down the difference between vitamin D, vitamin D2, and vitamin D3.

    Vitamin D is the vitamin thats produced by our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Most people get their entire vitamin D supply from sun exposure, but it can also be absorbed from foods like fatty fish, cod liver oil, mushrooms, or yeast.

    In the 1920s, scientists discovered the benefits of vitamin D, and within ten years realized that it would be easy to begin fortifying common foods with this vitamin, in order to improve the overall health of the population. Milk was the first food in North America to be fortified with vitamin D, followed shortly after by orange juice, cereals, and soy milk.

    Vitamin D2 and D3 are the two synthetically derived forms of vitamin D, which are available for human consumption. Vitamin D2 is derived from plants, while vitamin D3 comes from animal sources like egg yolks and fish oil.

    How Much Vitamin D Should I Take Daily

    The difference between vitamin D2 and D3 and which to ...

    Most healthy adults should strive to maintain an intake of 15mcg of vitamin D daily. In a tropical country, its estimated that two half-hour sessions of midday sun every week provides enough vitamin D. However, if you live in a more northerly or cloudy climate, you may want to consider upping your intake of vitamin D-rich foods, or taking a supplement.

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    Is Vitamin D3 The Same As Vitamin D: Everything You Need To Know

    It may surprise you to know that vitamin D is made up of more than one vitamin. As with the vitamin B complex, vitamin D is a collection of fat-soluble vitamins which have a very similar chemical structure. Vitamin D2 and D3 are the main forms of Vitamin D, both of which can contribute towards your daily requirements.

    Vitamin D3 boasts a number of health benefits, but what exactly is vitamin D3 and what is the difference between vitamin D2 and D3? Find out everything you need to know here.

    Difference Between Vitamin D And Vitamin D3

    Vitamins are essential nutrients that our boy needs in small amounts to work properly. Vitamin D is one of the complex vitamins needed by our body to grow and develop. Vitamin D is available in two forms known as vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. There are quite a few differences between vitamin D and vitamin D3 but the main difference between them is that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates calcium and phosphorous levels of the body whereas the vitamin D3 is the natural form of vitamin D produced by the body from sunlight. Given below are more differences between vitamin D3 and vitamin D.

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    Vitamin D3 Is More Effective At Improving Vitamin D Status

    Vitamin D2 and D3 are not equal when it comes to raising your vitamin D status.

    Both are effectively absorbed into the bloodstream. However, the liver metabolizes them differently.

    The liver metabolizes vitamin D2 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and vitamin D3 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. These two compounds are collectively known as calcifediol.

    Calcifediol is the main circulating form of vitamin D, and its blood levels reflect your bodys stores of this nutrient.

    For this reason, your health care provider can estimate your vitamin D status by measuring your levels of calcifediol .

    However, vitamin D2 seems to yield less calcifediol than an equal amount of vitamin D3.

    Most studies show that vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2 at raising blood levels of calcifediol (

    If you are taking vitamin D supplements, consider choosing vitamin D3.

    Summary Vitamin D3 appears to be better than D2 at improving vitamin D status.

    Why Take Vitamin D And K

    What is the difference between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3?

    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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    What Is Vitamin D3

    D3 is a type of vitamin D that comes from animal sources and its classically more potent than the plant-based type. Vitamin D3 also known as cholecalciferol, is one of the most important vitamins for human health.

    Vitamin D3 is essential for bone health and total body health. The function of Vitamin D3 is to help regulate calcium and phosphorous levels. There are two types of vitamin D, Vitamin D2 and D3 .

    It is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the bodys ability to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D3 helps to manage the levels of these two minerals in the blood, which are necessary for bone growth as well as strong teeth.

    The effects of too little or too much Vitamin D3 can be serious. Some sources of this vitamin include eggs, oily fish such as salmon, and vitamin supplements. It can come in the form of capsules or liquids which are sometimes taken orally and other times injected into the body.

    Is Vitamin D Or D3 More Effective

    Vitamin D2 and D3 are absorbed into the bloodstream where they are metabolized by the liver into 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, otherwise collectively known as 25D or calcifediol. Calcifediol is the vitamin D complex circulating in your blood, and its levels directly reflect your bodys stores of vitamin D. Calcifediol is commonly referred to as the active form of vitamin D. When your doctor orders lab tests to check your vitamin D levels, they are measuring your calcifediol levels.

    There have been several studies comparing whether supplementation with vitamin D2 or D3 produces a higher blood level of calcifediol. A study published by the National Institutes of Health was conducted in elderly, post-menopausal women who had been identified as vitamin D deficient. It compared the effects of receiving a single high dose of vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 on calcifediol levels. The study concluded that vitamin D3 produced about twice the amount of circulating calcifediol in this patient population versus that of vitamin D2.

    In a separate clinical trial comparing a 10-week regimen of twice weekly 50,000 IU dosing of both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 in demographically matched groups, vitamin D3 was also found to be superior in producing higher levels of 25D, or calcifediol.

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