Vitamins 101

Vitamin D2 vs D3: which should you be taking?

By March 11, 2020 May 20th, 2020 No Comments
hundred Vitamin D3 for telogen effluvium

Vitamin D plays an important role on our overall health — however, it’s common for people to be lacking in the sunshine vitamin.

In the United States alone, approximately 70% of the population has a level below 1200 IU which is deemed inadequate by the U.S. Endocrine Society. Worldwide averages fall to below 800 IU which is considered full-blown deficient.

So which Vitamin D supplement is best, and how can you make sure you are getting enough of this life-enhancing vitamin? Read on to learn more.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has been linked to bone and muscle health, has anti-inflammatory effects, and plays a role in serotonin synthesis and balance.

Vitamin D comes in multiple forms — of which the two major forms are Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.

Make sure you get enough Vitamin D3 because it plays an important role in boosting serotonin- otherwise known as the happy hormone

What is the difference between Vitamin D2 vs D3?

While you can obtain both Vitamin D2 and D3 from your diet, they have some very important differences.

Vitamin D2 and D3 are found in different food groups

Vitamin D3 is only found in animal products such as oily fish, fish oil, egg yolk, butter, and liver.

Vitamin D2 comes from plant-based foods such as mushrooms.

Vitamin D2 comes from plant-based foods such as mushrooms

Vitamin D3 is more effective at raising overall Vitamin D levels in the blood

Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins which actually functions more like a hormone than a vitamin.

When you consume Vitamin D2 or D3, the body converts it into a hormone called calcitriol. This active form of Vitamin D interacts with the vast majority of the body’s cells, and is critical for a number of important bodily functions.

When you get your blood levels tested for Vitamin D, you are actually checking your calcitriol levels.

Studies have shown that Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 are metabolized differently by the liver and as a result, Vitamin D2 yields less calcitriol than Vitamin D3.

We naturally produce Vitamin D3 ourselves through sun exposure

Our skin naturally produces Vitamin D3 when exposed to sunlight.

In contrast, Vitamin D2 cannot be produced naturally by the body, and must be obtained from plant-based foods.

Our skin naturally produces Vitamin D3 when exposed to sunlight

What is the best Vitamin D supplement?

It is important to get both Vitamin D2 and D3 through your diet, however Vitamin D3 is shown to be more effective at elevating overall Vitamin D levels.

In some cases, Vitamin D3 has even been shown to be twice as effective as D2 at raising calcitriol levels.

It is therefore advisable to ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D3 through eating plenty of foods rich in Vitamin D3, spending sufficient time in the sun, or taking a high-quality Vitamin D3 supplement. 

How much Vitamin D should I take?

Current US Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin D3 is 600IU or 15mcg per day, which is based on minimal sun exposure.

Preliminary research also suggests that a minimum of 800IU of supplemental Vitamin D3 per day is effective in maintaining blood levels to improve bone health.

Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it can be stored in our fat tissue and used by our body when needed.

Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D3 by taking a high quality Vitamin D3 supplement
Vitamin D3

Excessive amounts of Vitamin D3 may accumulate inside the body and can’t be peed out like water-soluble vitamins can.

It is therefore advisable to get a little Vitamin D3 everyday through diet and sun exposure, rather than over consuming it through excess supplementation.

Our 25 mcg (1000IU) tablet/day Vitamin D3 supplement is well below the tolerable upper limit for Vitamin D.

How should I take Vitamin D3?

It is advisable to take Vitamin D3 with fats to improve absorption.

Our liquid Vitamin D3 capsule is made from 100% plant-based lichen, and we’ve added sunflower oil to increase absorption.

Do I still need to take Vitamin D during the summer?

This really depends on your day-to-day exposure to sunlight, especially UVB rays.

Our body will usually produce sufficient Vitamin D during the summer months, as we’re more likely to be exposed to the sun at this time of the year.

However, if you work indoors, stay away from the sun, or live in a northern latitude, you may not get enough UVB exposure to support adequate Vitamin D synthesis.

If you do not get enough sun exposure during the summer months you may still need to take a high quality Vitamin D3 supplement

The bottom line

Interested in incorporating Vitamin D3 into your vitamin routine? Take our 5-minute quiz to discover whether our Vitamin D3 is right for you and we’ll pair you with your very own Nutrition Expert for free!

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