Vitamin d2 vs d3 – main differences explained

As a matter of fact, Vitamins are an important part of a balanced diet. Main types of vitamin found in food eaten by us are Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K and a few others. While most of the vitamins are derived from food, vitamin D has some variants that our bodies produce on proper and regular exposure to sunlight.

The present lifestyle of people has developed deficiency of vitamin D as the exposure to sunlight is limited, due to work and also during winter months when sun is hardly out. People lock themselves inside offices for most of the sunny part of the day and come out only after sun has set long back.

This is why the deficiency of this vitamin is being made up by consuming vitamin D3 supplement tablets having vitamin D as its main component.

Vitamin d2 vs d3 – which Vitamin D to go for actually?

Choosing type of vitamins needed comes from clear understanding of how vitamin d2 and d3 differ. Vitamin D2 is named as ergocalciferol, while Vitamin D3 is known as calciferol. Vitamin D3 is more effective  and is recommended often. When any doctor prescribes going on vitamin D supplements, they mean Vitamin D3 by that. This is because the effectiveness of vitamin d3 in raising blood levels of this vitamin is quite prominent.

Sources of vitamin d2 and vitamin d3

Vitamin D is available largely in vegetarian foods. The foods like mushrooms (cultivated in UV light), dietary supplements and fortified foods are quite rich in vitamin D2. Those people who have animal based food diet are actually easily boosting up their vitamin d3 levels as foods consumed by them will be rich in this vitamin. Some of the common animal based foods that are actually packed with vitamin d3 content are liver, egg yolk, oily fishes and fish oil, dietary supplements and butter.

Skin – primary factory of Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is actually formed in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. This is the reason why people used to take sun baths in old times. However, due to increasing cases of skin cancer caused due to exposure to UV rays resulting from depletion of ozone layer forced people to depend on their food for their vitamin d3 supply.

The best part of vitamin D3 produced in skin is that people do not overdose on it. If the dietary means are adopted to meet vitamin D3 requirements of the body, the skin starts producing it less.

Dietary supplements are rich in vitamin D2

The primary source of vitamin d2 is dietary supplements and limited food types only. The supplements, however, need to be taken in controlled amounts. Body can show signs of discomfort in case of it overdosing on vitamin D2. Many researchers suggest that not optimizing vitamin d2 levels can lead to heart diseases as its deposits can cause hardening of arteries leading to problem of arteriosclerosis.

What brings down the quality of vitamin D2

Comparison of vitamin d2 vs d3 on quality parameter suggests that vitamin d3 is superior. But why it is so? Its reason lies in the way D2 reacts to humidity and weather conditions. If the vitamin D2 supplement is stored for long, it loses its strength due to humidity and changing temperatures of the surroundings.

Ways to improve vitamin D intake in our body

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has complex metabolism process. It can be derived from sunlight as well as through foods and dietary supplements. Some of the cheat ways to introduce correct dose of vitamins D2 and D3 in daily intake are:

  1. Eat UV light exposed mushrooms.
  2. Cod liver oil and supplements based on it.
  3. Vitamin D fortified foods such as vitamin D enriched orange juice or milk.
  4. Do breakfast comprising of eggs and butter.
  5. Include fatty fish on weekend dinners.
  6. Soak some sun on weekends and whenever possible.

The role of vitamin D is very important in maintaining overall health of the body. The vitamin D acts as primer that allows easy absorption of calcium in the body. Thus, many calcium tablets are prepared by fortifying them with vitamin D so that the real motive of consuming these tablets is achieved.

Vitamin D deficiency has become quite common in the recent times. The people can find about this deficiency by getting their blood tests done. In old age, the chances of osteoporosis increase when the vitamin D levels continue to remain lower than normal. Thus, this deficiency should be taken seriously and proper changes in diet boosting levels of vitamin D should be made.

To conclude,

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays important role in maintaining good bone and joint health. The deficiency of vitamin D can be supplemented with the help of taking foods that are rich in vitamin D3. Vitamin d2, produced by plants, is one of the types of this vitamin, but is considered inferior in quality due to its degrading on exposure to temperature fluctuations and humidity. Doctors recommend vitamin d3 which is derived from animal sources, unlike vitamin d2 which is mainly found in plant-based foods.

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