This Is the Difference Between Vitamin D2 and D3

Young athletic man running at park during cold autumn morning

‘Getting some vitamin D!’ is a much-loved phrase every time we step into the sun. But did you know that vitamin D isn’t a singular vitamin, but rather a family of nutrients? 

There are two main forms of vitamin D – D2 and D3 – that are present in our diets and are different in a couple of important ways. 

Check out this guide to the difference between vitamin D2 and D3 and tips on how to incorporate them into your diet so that you always feel on top of the world! 

What Is Vitamin D2?

Vitamin D2 naturally occurs in plants, such as mushrooms. Plants produce this nutrient when exposed to UV light. It is also present in fortified foods because many milk and cereal products are boosted with vitamin D2 as it is significantly cheaper than D3. 

Our bodies are slightly less effective at metabolizing vitamin D2 and even in large quantities, it is less potent than D3.

So, if you’re looking for a vitamin D2 supplement, you should rethink it as it’s not nearly as beneficial as a D3 supplement.

What Is Vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3 is produced by our bodies, specifically the skin, when it is exposed to UV light, AKA the sun! People who spend a lot of time in the sun naturally produce a lot of vitamin D3. It is also present in foods such as oily fish and egg yolk.

When it comes to our bodies, vitamin D3 is much more beneficial for us. Many scientists believe it’s because our bodies naturally produce it.

Our bodies metabolize D2 and D3 into a compound called calcifediol which indicates our overall vitamin D level. However, vitamin D2, when processed by the liver, produces significantly less calcifediol than vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3, then, is much more effective at raising our vitamin D levels. And while D2 is important too, vitamin D3 is more important for your health.

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

People are spending a lot more time indoors these days and many people live in places with low exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiencies can cause you to feel fatigued, weaken your immune system, and cause bone and back pain, among many other symptoms. You may be more susceptible to depression, hair loss, or muscle pain because of a lack of vitamin D.

If you feel your levels may be low, here are a few ways to improve your vitamin D levels:

  • Add cod liver oil to your diet
  • Choose milk and juices fortified with vitamin D
  • Get some time (but not too much) in the sun
  • Eat mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light

Otherwise, many people turn to supplements. Make sure that your supplement includes vitamin D3 and don’t exceed the safe dosage level. Try Vitamin D tablets from Vitabiotics for an all-rounder vitamin D supplement.

Knowing the Difference Between Vitamin D2 and D3

Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient that keeps us feeling healthy and full of life. Understanding the difference between vitamin D2 and D3 can help you to ensure that you’re getting a sufficient healthy intake of the correct vitamin D nutrients to keep your levels up. 

Head over to the health section of our site for more helpful articles just like this one! 

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