Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 both forms can both treat and prevent vitamin D deficiencies. D3 has proven more efficient at doing this due to better absorption by the body, systemization through sunlight exposure, etc.
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble nutrient necessary for Maintaining strong teeth, Bones, and Muscles. Vitamin D can only be manufactured by our bodies when exposed to sunlight, UVB rays activate skin cells to produce Vitamin D3. Dietary sources also offer natural sources, including salmon, mackerel, and tuna as well as fortified cereals milk, and orange juice containing added Vitamin D3.
Vitamin D converts into an active form called calcitriol once inside of our bodies, where it regulates calcium and phosphorus absorption through our digestive systems this promotes bone health while helping prevent osteoporosis.
What is Vitamin D2?
Vitamin D2, also Referred to as Ergocalciferol, is produced naturally by Plants. You can find it in certain mushrooms and fungi It’s often fortified into food products and supplements.
Vitamin D2 has a lower potency compared to Vitamin D3, Meaning higher doses will need to be consumed to reach Similar levels in the circulation in your body. Its stability may also decrease significantly with exposure to heat, oxygen or light making its usage unadvisable and potentially hazardous for health purposes.
Vitamin D2 in our bodies is converted to its active form (calcitriol) through chemical processes occurring in both kidneys and liver, inducing various chemical reactions that regulate calcium-phosphorus balance within our intestinal system as well as promote bone mineralization.
Studies indicate that Vitamin D2 may not be as effective at treating and preventing vitamin D deficiency as its more potency cousin, Vitamin D3. According to these research findings, supplementing with more Vitamin D3 could raise levels and support bone health more efficiently supplementation is therefore often recommended.
What is Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3, also Referred to as Cholecalciferol, is produced naturally through exposure to UVB radiation on skin surfaces and then stored. Dietary sources including egg yolks and fatty fish can provide sources of Vitamin D3, with added supplements being another common source.
Vitamin D3 is considered the biologically most active form of Vitamin D. It’s more effective at raising levels in the blood and supporting bone strength, plus more stable than its predecessor (Vitamin D2) due to heat, oxygen, or light degradation.
Vitamin D3 in our bodies is converted to its active form (calcitriol) through chemical processes occurring in both kidneys and liver, thus helping regulate calcium and phosphorus intake into our intestinal tract and promoting bone mineralization.
Key Difference Between Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3
Here’s a comparison chart of Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol):
|Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol)
|Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
|Obtained from plant sources (fungi)
|Obtained from animal sources (fish, animals) and synthesized in the skin when exposed to sunlight
|Available as a supplement
|Available as a supplement and produced naturally by the body
|Less potent in raising serum vitamin D levels compared to D3
|More potent in raising serum vitamin D levels
|Absorbed slightly less efficiently in the body compared to D3
|Absorbed more efficiently in the body
|Duration of Action
|Has a shorter duration of action
|Has a longer duration of action
|Recommended Dietary Intake
|Similar to D3, but may require higher doses to achieve the same effect
|Often considered more effective at lower doses
|Prescription vs. Over-the-Counter
|Often available over-the-counter
|Available over-the-counter and as prescription-strength supplements
|Used in prescription medications for specific conditions
|Widely used in supplements and fortified foods
|Found in some plant-based foods like mushrooms
|Found in fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel), egg yolks, and fortified dairy products
|Lower bioavailability compared to D3
|Higher bioavailability, making it more effective at increasing serum vitamin D levels
|Generally safe but may require higher doses
|Generally safe with lower effective doses
How can you increase your vitamin D2 and D3?
Which foods are high in vitamin D2
Here are some food items that contain vitamin D2:
- Mushrooms: Some varieties of mushrooms, like the shiitake and maitake varieties, are naturally rich in Vitamin D2 when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light during the growth. However, mushrooms that are sold in the market tend to not be subjected the UV radiation, which means the Vitamin D2 content might be reduced unless they’re specifically made.
- Fortified Foods: A few foods have been supplemented with Vitamin D2, particularly in vegan and plant-based products. They could be fortified milk made from plants (such as soy, almond, or oatmeal milk) as well as orange juice and cereals fortified with Vitamin D2.
- Supplements: Vitamin D2 Supplements are readily available and may be used to boost Vitamin D2 intake when needed especially for people with diet restrictions.
Which food are high in vitamin D3
Here are some food items that naturally contain Vitamin D3:
- Fatty Fish: Fish that are fattier can be among the top sources of Vitamin D3. Such as: Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Sardines, Trout, Herring etc.
- Cod Liver Oil: The oil from the cod liver is among the most abundant resources for Vitamin D3 it is also available in supplements.
- Egg Yolks: Egg yolks have very little Vitamin D3. But, the amount can differ according to the diet of chickens.
- Beef Liver: Beef liver has Vitamin D3 however it’s not as concentrated as in fatty fish.
- Cheese: Different types of cheese, including Swiss as well as cheddar, have very little Vitamin D3.
- Mushrooms: Most mushrooms have Vitamin D2, but certain varieties, such as shiitakes can naturally produce tiny amounts of vitamin D3 in response UV or sunlight in the course of growth.
- Fortified Foods: A variety of foods have been supplemented to contain Vitamin D3 to assist people in meeting their nutritional needs. Such as: Fortified dairy items (e.g. yogurt, milk, and a few kinds of cheese), Fortified plant-based milk substitutes (e.g. almond milk, soy milk, and Oat milk), Fortified orange juice, Breakfast cereals with high-fat content, etc.
Why do Doctors prefer prescribing Vitamin D2 over Vitamin D3?
When filling a prescription from your physician for vitamin D2, Ergocalciferol will usually be the option prescribed. Although vitamin D3 has proven more potency, you might wonder why doctors prefer Ergocalciferol instead.
Your doctor typically will prescribe 50,000 units of vitamin D2, as this vitamin has many therapeutic applications such as treating parathyroid and calcium disorders and is especially popular among people living with chronic kidney disease.
What Steps can be taken to obtain sufficient vitamin D?
- Get outdoors and soak up some sun.
- Your skin can produce vitamin D3 from being exposed to direct sunlight to prevent skin damage the exposure must be balanced with other sources.
- Eating foods rich in Vitamin D3, such as liver, egg yolks, and fatty fish is helpful.
- Orange Juice, Milk and cereals provide great sources of Vitamin D3.
- Supplement with Vitamin D3 With numerous vitamin D3 products readily available on the market today, meeting daily recommended amounts is made easier than ever.
Benefits of vitamin D2 and D3
Benefits of Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol):
- Bone Health: Similar to Vitamin D3, Vitamin D2 is a key factor in the absorption of calcium as well as bone health. It aids in maintaining strong bones and helps help prevent diseases like rickets and osteoporosis.
- Prescription Medicines: Vitamin D2 is frequently used in prescription drugs for medical conditions that require greater doses are needed.
- plant-based source: If you are following a strict vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, Vitamin D2 from plant-based sources such as mushrooms may assist in meeting their vitamin D requirements.
Benefits of Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol):
- more effective: Vitamin D3 is generally more effective in raising and maintaining vitamin D levels within the body. It is the preferred type to supplement your diet.
- Sunlight Synthesis: Vitamin D3 can be synthesized by the skin when the skin is exposed to light (UVB Rays) which makes it the most natural version of vitamin D created by our body.
- Bone Health: Vitamin D3 can be essential for calcium absorption, and plays an important role in maintaining healthy and strong bones.
- Immune Support: There is evidence that Vitamin D3 could be more effective on the immune system and could aid in decreasing the risk of getting sick and autoimmune disorders.
- Mental Health and Mood: There is some evidence that suggests Vitamin D3 could positively impact mood and mental health.
- Cancer Prevention: A few studies suggest that sufficient Vitamin D3 levels can lower the chance of certain kinds of cancer, but further research is required in this area.
What are the potential side effects of overconsuming vitamin D?
Nausea, Vomiting, Muscle Weakness, and Confusion can also occur you can learn more here about that as well. You could experience Pain (Loss of Appetite), Dehydration, Extreme Thirst, and Urination along with Kidney Stones are symptoms associated with Vitamin D deficiency and should also be addressed accordingly.
Most individuals do not exhibit symptoms some people may display subtler indications that aren’t immediately obvious Prolonged and severe deficiencies could produce multiple manifestations that manifest as symptoms. Fatigue, bone pain, weakness, and muscle twitches impede wound healing bone loss increases the risk of infection and increases fatigue levels.
Few strategies for lowering risk
Obtain the Required Amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin D deficiency affects an estimated 40% of Americans and 1 billion people globally,10 with those aged over 60, those who reside in areas receiving little sunlight, people with darker skin pigmentation, and infants breastfeeding being at greater risk.
Individuals living with certain medical conditions or who occupy areas that receive little sunshine are among those most at risk.
Vitamin D2 vs. D3: Which Is better?
- Vitamins D2 and D3 both serve Similar roles within the body, including treating or preventing vitamin D deficiency. Of the two vitamin options, Vitamin D3 proves more successful at raising Vitamin D levels and improving bone health than its predecessor Ergocalciferol.
- Vitamin D3 is more readily absorbed and utilized by the body than Vitamin D2, making it easier for it to reach desired blood levels of Vitamin D circulating than higher dosages of D2. Plus, its potency means lower doses are necessary to attain similar effects as higher dosages.
- Vitamin D3 is produced naturally through sun exposure. Studies suggest this form is more efficient at increasing levels and improving bone health than taking vitamin D2 through food sources.
- Vitamin D3 may help individuals suffering from osteoporosis or at risk of vitamin D deficiencies to supplement their intake and keep levels optimal.
Vitamin D is an indispensable nutrient, playing an integral part in bone and immune health. Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Both forms can treat and prevent vitamin D deficiencies D3 has proven more efficient at doing this due to better absorption by the body, systemization through sunlight exposure, etc.
When supplementing, consult with a healthcare provider as to their daily recommendation either form can be supplemented.