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Vitamin D3 Vs D2

Vitamin D3 Vs D2

Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.  

There has been great attention on the use of vitamin D over recent years and of course, it’s well-deserved. This vital nutrient plays a key role in building and maintaining a stronger immune response in the human body. As it has several forms, many people wonder about - vitamin D3 vs D2 - which one to take? If you’re also a vitamin D fan and still in confusion to choose the right form of vitamin D for you, then you should definitely consider reading this article till the end. 

In this article, we’ll be comparing vitamin D3 vs D2 in terms of nearly everything you need to know including sources, bioactivities, and benefits. But before we get into the difference between vitamin D3 and D2, it’s worth knowing what actually vitamin D is and why it is so important. so, let's get started.   

Table of contents 

  • Understanding vitamin D and its importance 
  • Vitamin D3 vs D2: forms and sources
  • Vitamin D3 vs D2: bioavailability and benefits  
  • Final words 

Understanding vitamin D and its importance 

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin or scientifically calciferol, is a vitamin that is fat-soluble, meaning it dissolves in oil or fat. It’s crucial for promoting overall health and well-being. 

This vital nutrient assists the human body in how it absorbs, stores, and utilizes calcium and thereby, plays a key role in regulating the growth and health of bones and teeth. It also affects various other bodily factors such as immune function, fertility, muscles, and even mood to name a few.   

Deficiencies or low levels of vitamin D have been linked to the risk of various diseases, especially those that are related to bones such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, and compromised immune functions. 

The problem is vitamin D has several forms and it raises confusion when it comes to choosing vitamin D for supplementation. The family of vitamin D includes five types of molecules, with the two most common and useful being vitamin D2 and D3. These vitamins are also scientifically known as ergocalciferol and calciol or cholecalciferol, respectively. While both vitamin D2 and D3 molecules can contribute to developing and maintaining human health, they differ in how they get absorbed and utilized in the human body.  

What D3 vs D2: forms and sources 

All forms of vitamin D, including D3 and D2, aren’t created equal. They are neither biologically equivalent nor interchangeable. Despite having a clear understanding that vitamin D supplementation is crucial, the first and foremost factor to consider is choosing the right form: vitamin D3 vs D2 - which one is better? Supplementation of vitamin D can hugely help to achieve its sufficiency level, but only when a person chooses the right form. 

Vitamin D2 and D3 have long been distinguished by their origin of sources - plant vs animal. Vitamin D2 mostly comes from plant origins such as mushrooms and yeasts, while vitamin D3 mostly comes from a variety of animal origins ranging from fish to eggs to lanolin from sheep’s wool. 

But through advanced modern technologies, scientists have developed plant-origin options of vitamin D3 as well, albeit rare. For example, algae and lichen are used to produce plant-origin vitamin D3 which is a great option for vegans and vegetarians or those who otherwise want to refrain from taking animal options of vitamin D3 to get enough of this nutrient.  

Let’s take a look at where we can find vitamin D3 vs D2: 

  • Vitamin D3 is found in food sources like egg yolks, fatty fish, cheese, and fish liver oils 
  • Vitamin D2 is found in foods sources such as mushrooms and irradiated yeasts 
  • The human skin can produce vitamin D3 on its own from sun exposure
  • Both vitamin D3 and D2 are used to fortify food items such as breakfast cereals, dairy, and juices 
  • Vitamin D2 is commonly found in the form of prescription medications 
  • Vitamin D3 is commonly found in the form of dietary supplements 

Vitamin D3 vs D2: bioavailability and benefits

Vitamin D3 has been shown to be far more efficient compared to vitamin D2 when it comes to bioavailability and benefits as vitamin D3 has greater stability, bioefficacy, and bioactivity in the body. Comparing vitamin D2 versus D3 only on the basis of their sources or origins doesn’t make any sense at all, rather we should consider focusing on what is more effective and what is less.  

There’s a wealth of evidence packed with robust and peer-reviewed research in humans, including a range of placebo-controlled, double-blind, and randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that support that vitamin D3 is way superior in increasing vitamin D levels in the human body than vitamin D2. 

Well, how much better is it? - Research suggests that the potency of vitamin D3 is around 87% more than its inferior counterpart vitamin D2. This is the reason why over recent years most clinicians are turning to recommending vitamin D3 supplements to help their patients achieve vitamin D sufficiency levels. 

A 2011 randomized controlled trial published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded that vitamin D3 is around 87% more potent than vitamin D2 in increasing and maintaining serum vitamin D levels.  

Final words 

If we compare the efficacy of vitamin D3 vs D2, vitamin D3 has been found to be more effective with its superior bioavailability and stability in the human body and thereby, is more efficient in increasing and maintaining vitamin D levels in the human body. Therefore, vitamin D3 is more suitable for vitamin D supplementation to help fight low levels and deficiencies of this vital nutrient and achieve its sufficiency levels.

Here you can see Vorst’s Vitamin D3 25 Mcg (1000 IU) Capsules  

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