Understanding the significance of vitamin D3 can help you make positive changes to your health and wellbeing
Last week, we explored the importance of vitamin D3 both in the blog post and in our IGTV chat with Liz Earle on Instagram, and explored how this vital nutrient benefit can benefit our overall health and immune system function. Vitamin D3 supports your body’s efforts to keep you healthy and stave off illness, which is something we’ve all come to appreciate even more over the past year.
However, there’s still plenty to discover about this vital yet oft-overlooked vitamin. Many people remain unsure of the relationship between vitamin D and vitamin D3, and how exactly they differ from each other. Luckily, we’re here to help.
Back to basics with vitamin D
Our main source of vitamin D is the sun, as ultraviolet rays from sunlight hit the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. We also get it from certain foods, including oily fish, red meat, egg yolks and liver. However, in recent months vitamin D has been a point of concern as we’ve all been spending more time inside due to lockdown restrictions, resulting in less sunlight exposure. In fact, last winter the government offered free vitamin D supplements to 2.5 million vulnerable UK citizens.
Vitamin D has been especially important recently as it is known to support healthy immune system function, which is necessary in fighting off illnesses and infections. It also helps to support cell growth, bone health and your metabolism.
Vitamin D isn’t just one thing
Most of us already know that vitamin D is important for our health, and that it mainly comes from sunlight. But one thing many people aren’t aware of is the fact that vitamin D isn’t just one nutrient. In fact, when we say ‘vitamin D’ we’re actually referring to a whole family of nutrients, each with their own vital role to play in our health.
Within the umbrella of ‘vitamin D’, two of the most important nutrients are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. These are also known as ergocalciferol (D2) and cholecalciferol (D3).
The differences between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3
Both vitamin D2 and D3 help to support your body in the same way vitamin D as a whole does, namely through your bone and muscle health, and your immune system function. However, there are key differences between these two forms of vitamin D which set them apart from each other, including how they are sourced.
Typically, vitamin D3 comes from animal-sourced foods while D2 is gathered from plant sources like mushrooms. Because of this, vitamin D2 is cheaper to produce and is the most common form of vitamin D in fortified foods.
However, while it may be the most common, D2 is not necessarily the most effective. In fact, research shows that vitamin D3 is more effective when it comes to improving an individual’s overall vitamin D status.
One study published in the medical journal Bone explored the effects of vitamins D2 and D3 in vitamin D-deficient patients, and found vitamin D3 to be significantly more effective at raising blood levels of vitamin D. Similarly, a 2012 study compared vitamin D2 and D3 supplementation, concluding that D3 was significantly more effective at improving vitamin D levels. These examples show how vitamin D3 is intrinsic to our overall immune health and function.
Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® Immunity+ capsules are a plant-based source of vitamin D3
There’s no doubt that vitamin D3 is vital for our immune system and, as a result, our overall health. But this can present an issue for those following a plant-based diet because, as mentioned earlier, vitamin D3 is mainly found in animal food sources.
That’s where Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® products comes in. Our Immunity+ capsules include vitamin D3 extracted from lichens, as well as vitamin B12 and organic Scottish seaweed. All of this combines to allow Immunity+ to support immune system function, thyroid health and function, metabolism, cognitive function, bone and muscle function, and more.