Woman stretches her arms outside in the sun with her eyes closed and a happy look on her face.

DIFFERENCES between VITAMIN D and D3

Think of Vitamin D as a non- identical twins, sharing certain features but they are not the same. You may look a bit like your brother, sister, mum or Dad, perhaps sharing some feature more prominently than others in your family.
Differences between Vitamin D and D3 are vast.
in the Vitamin D family, there are two important members (D2 and D3) who have very similar ‘DIET’ features.
But while they have that similarity, they are different in a few important ways.

Small backboard with the words 'Vitamin D' on it, surrounded by mushrooms, salmon fillets, cheese, beaNS AND potatoes
Foods rich in vitamin D. Top view

What is Vitamin D3?

The Vitamin D family is soluble (can be dissolved) in fat.
So they all promote the absorption of calcium, regulate bone growth and plays a role in immune function.

If you are the outdoors type and get plenty of sun on your skin, the reward may be a lovely tan but also, your Vitamin D family storehouse is boosted.
This Vitamin D is D3.
It becomes available through sunlight on skin.
Vitamin D3 is also found in food from animals: oily fish, butter, egg yolks and organ meat.
The problem is people may not get enough sun every day nor eat enough animal produce to adequately supply D3 to the body to carry out its’ job.
Manufacturers of food products like milk and some breakfast food cereals know this and so, add it as a supplement during production.
Online, Vitamin D3 Supplements are also popular, such as oils, pills or powders.
You cannot overdose on Vitamin D3 as the body figures the optimal amount needed and when it’s reached, the rest does nothing good OR bad to the body; the skin just produces less Vitamin D3.

Forefinger and thumb holding up a supplement capsule to the sun with a blue sky filling the background


So remember to get plenty of sunlight on your skin, often. Don’t use Sunblock; wear light clothes and use common sense. Different people, different places in the world, different skin colour and different tolerances all point at one simple gauge: Common sense.

What is Vitamin D2?

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.
Sometimes one or more of the four glands that ‘piggyback’ on your thyroid gland (in the neck) stop doing their job, which is to regulate the amount of calcium your blood and bones.
Too much or too little calcium is not good.
Calcium does three important tasks.

  • It provides the way for electric impulses to move through our nervous system;
  • It provides the electrical impulses necessary for our muscles to contract or release;
  • It provides strength to our bones. Calcium is stored in the bones and used ‘on demand’.

So when we lack Vitamin D2, we may experience muscle cramp, depression, tiredness and other symptoms. See your Doctor before assuming it is a lack of Vitamin D2. They will run the test necessary and find a professional remedy.

A Vitamin D2 overdose could cause serious or life-threatening side effects. If you are pregnant, do not assume the tiredness you may suffer is related to a lack of calcium and start taking Vitamin D2 medication.
See your Doctor.

Vitamin D2 Sources

Mushrooms grown under a UV light supply vitamin D2.
Some plants are also good producers of Vitamin D2.
Supplements are available also but again, do not self- diagnose and buy D2 off the internet.
See your Doctor FIRST and if it is necessary, they will likely give you a script for D2 and suggest a change in Diet. For example, instead of dairy milk (D3), they may suggest coconut, almond or soy milk (all plants), fortified with D2.
Check the label first to ensure it has D2.

Possible D2 Overdose symptoms

  • weakness,
  • metallic taste in your mouth,
  • weight loss,
  • muscle or bone pain,
  • constipation,
  • nausea and vomiting.
A sick elderly woman in bed

IN CONCLUSION…

Research suggests that vitamin D2 is less effective than vitamin D3 at raising blood levels of vitamin D.
Get regular doses of Sunshine on your skin. That’s free! Use common sense and get an appropriate saturation rate for your body and environment.
See your Doctor about Vitamin 2 supplementation BEFORE buying.
Remember, you can overdose on Vitamin D2 supplements and cause harm.

2 thoughts on “DIFFERENCES between VITAMIN D and D3

  1. Thank you for this thorough information about Vitamin D. I myself am a huge fan of sunny weather but the sun doesn’t always come out and it’s extremely important to know where else we can get that Vitamin D from. Good thing I love fish too! Thank you!

    1. It is usual with those cooler climates that there may be a lack of Vitamin D due to less exposure to the sun but awareness is a good thing, eat the food that supply it or use the supplements, which are quite affordable. Whatever you need to do , Do. That’s how we keep good health! Thanks for your comments.

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