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Vitamin D2 vs D3: What’s the Difference?

It is important to know the difference between vital nutrients like vitamin D2 and D3 when looking after your body. With its vital role in your bones, immune system, and heart health, the “sunshine vitamin” can help to contribute to your healthy lifestyle. Know if vitamin D is the same as D3, and learn the difference between D2 and D3.

Table of Contents:

  • What is Vitamin D?
  • Sources of Vitamin D2 & D3
  • Sources of Vitamin D in Supplements
  • Can You Get a Vegan Form of Vitamin D3?
  • Which is Better for Increasing Vitamin D Intake?

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids calcium absorption for healthy bones and helps the body maintain a strong immune defense. Our skin produces this “sunshine vitamin” when exposed to UV light, making it difficult for those living in the northern hemisphere to maintain levels during the autumn and winter months as UV light exposure is low. 

There are multiple vitamins known collectively as the family of D vitamins. The two main types found in our diets are D2 and D3. Vitamin D supplements may contain D2 and D3. Supplementing with D3 can be more beneficial when avoiding the unwanted effects of vitamin D deficiency. There are signs of low vitamin D to look out for when concerned about your levels.

Is Vitamin D the Same As Vitamin D2?

Yes, vitamin D is the same as D2. Vitamin D2 is a type of the sunshine vitamin because the term refers to a collective group of D vitamins. Vitamin D2 is the same as vitamin D but slightly different: ergocalciferol (D2) is the form of the nutrient produced by plants when exposed to UV light. Vitamin D is the same as D2: this form is found in sources such as plants and yeast. Therefore, the answer to the question ‘is vitamin D the same as D2?’ is yes. They are both D vitamins that benefit your bones.

Is Vitamin D the Same As Vitamin D3?

Yes, vitamin D is the same as D3. It is another one of the vitamins referred to as D vitamins. D3 is the same as vitamin D: It is the way humans naturally produce the vitamin. It helps the bones absorb calcium, which is a benefit of vitamin D.  Vitamin D is the same as D3 - it is called cholecalciferol (D3), the biologically active form produced in humans and animals when skin is exposed to sunlight. The answer to the question ‘is vitamin D the same as D3?’ is also yes. Vitamin D3 is the same as vitamin D because it is one of the nutrients in this family.

Sources of Vitamin D2 & D3 

Vitamin D2 is found in plants while D3 is predominantly found in animal products.

BetterYou Vitamin D supplements.

Food sources: 

  • D2: Mushrooms (wild or grown under UV light)
  • D2: Fortified foods such as bread
  • D3: Oily fish
  • D3: Liver
  • D3: Egg yolk

If you wish to increase your vitamin D2 and D3 intake, you can do so by including these foods in your diet alongside taking nutrient supplements. 

Sources of Vitamin D in Supplements

Plant sources such as mushrooms produced under UV light make the D2 form of the vitamin, which is then extracted and used for supplements or the fortification of dairy-free milks and cereals. BetterYou include the sunshine nutrient in vitamin oral sprays to make supplementation easier and hassle-free.

Most D3 cholecalciferol supplements are sourced from lanolin in sheep wool. The sheep wool undergoes an extraction process to produce cholesterol, which can be converted into 7-dehydrocholesterol – known as pre-vitamin D3. This product is then irradiated to produce cholecalciferol. This is the same reaction that happens in human skin when we produce vitamin D from sunlight. 

As the lanolin is sourced from the wool of sheep it is not suitable for vegans, though is suitable for vegetarians.

Can You Get a Vegan Form of Vitamin D3?

Vegans may not wish to use our source of D3 in vitamin D oral spray, because it is sourced from sheep wool. However, those following a vegan diet can use our vegan supplements to encourage a healthy balanced nutrient intake. 

Luckily, there is a vegan form of D3 which is sourced from Lichen. Lichen are small algae-like plants that have been exposed to UV rays. However, quantities of vitamin D3 that are extracted from the plants are much lower in comparison to lanolin sources. This makes it difficult to obtain in large quantities and expensive to produce. 

This is why most vegan D supplements use D2 which is much cheaper to produce. At BetterYou, we only use the best quality ingredients for our supplements, that's why our D1000 Vegan Vitamin D Spray contains the lichen source of D3, and is at an affordable price.

Thus, not only is vitamin D the same as D3, but the nutrient sprays are suitable for everyone! 

Which is Better for Increasing Vitamin D Intake?

Although vitamin D is the same as D3, and vitamin D is the same as D2, the two forms are not the same as each other. Vitamin D2 and D3 are not equal when it comes to raising nutrient levels. 

Your liver metabolizes the two forms differently. Both forms of the vitamin convert into calcifediol in the liver (also known as calcidiol), however, D2 yields less calcifediol than D3. This makes D2 inferior when it comes to raising blood levels and increasing your intake. 

If suffering from a deficiency, vitamin D3 has been found to be better at raising your sunshine nutrient status. One study found that vitamin D3 was twice as effective at increasing levels than D2 supplements. Therefore, vitamin D is the same as D3, and levels can be increased better using this form of the nutrient. BetterYou’s supplements contain D3 in order to contribute to a healthy lifestyle through easy-to-use, pill-free supplementation. 

Supplementing with BetterYou

At BetterYou, we specialize in pill-free supplementation to contribute to a healthy lifestyle. From magnesium supplements to support your sleep cycle, and children’s vitamins to look after your little ones, you can encourage balanced nutrient intake.

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