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What's The Difference Between Vitamin D2 & Vitamin D3?

Understanding the difference between D3 and D2 can greatly impact your overall health and wellbeing

Over the past year, we’ve all learnt to value our health more. And a big part of protecting your health and wellbeing involves ensuring that your immune system can function at full capacity.

This is where vitamin D comes in. Vitamin D is essential for bone, teeth and muscle health alike, and helps to promote healthy immune function. The majority of our vitamin D intake comes from sunlight, as well as foods like egg yolks, liver, oily fish and fatty spreads.[1]

Vitamin D doesn’t just refer to one single vitamin

We tend to think of vitamin D as just one vitamin, but in reality it’s a family of nutrients that all share a similar chemical structure. The most common members of this family are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.[2]

Both of these types will help you meet your vitamin D requirements, but they differ in a few key ways. We’re going to take a closer look at what separates these two vitamin D products, and why vitamin D3 is so important.

Vitamin D3 vs. Vitamin D2

Both vitamins D2 and D3 are important for your immune health, but research suggests that vitamin D2 is less effective than vitamin D3 when it comes to raising blood levels of vitamin D.[3] Vitamin D is important for all of us at all times, but especially during the winter months, if you are inside a lot of the time, have darker skin or are an older adult.[4]

These two forms mainly differ in where they are sourced. Vitamin D3 tends to be found in animal-sourced foods, while D2 is mostly present in plant sources and fortified foods.

Some of the most common sources of vitamin D3 include oily fish, liver, butter and egg yolk, while vitamin D2 is mostly extracted from fungi. Because vitamin D2 is cheaper to produce, it’s the most common form of vitamin D in fortified foods.

Vitamin D3 is formed on the skin when exposed to sunlight. UVB radiation tiggers the formation of vitamin D3 from the compound 7-dehydrocholesterol.[5] This means that, for people in equatorial countries like India, an estimated half an hour of midday sun twice a week provides enough vitamin D3. However, in cooler countries like the UK, supplements can help us reach our RDA.

Why is vitamin D3 so important?

Vitamin D3 yields higher levels of calcifediol when compared to vitamin D2. Calcifediol is the main circulating form of vitamin D in the blood, and is how healthcare providers examine our vitamin D levels.

In a study of older women, vitamin D3 was found to be nearly twice as effective as vitamin D2 when it came to raising blood levels of calcifediol.[6] Vitamin D2 supplements are also thought to degrade more over time, as they are more sensitive to humidity and temperature changes.[7]

So when it comes to supporting your immune health, vitamin D3 is the best option.

Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® Immunity+ capsules provide a vegan source of vitamin D3

Despite the fact that vitamin D3 usually comes from animal sources like eggs and butter, our Immunity+ capsules use vitamin D3 extracted from lichens – an incredible symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae or cyanobacteria. This makes Immunity+ a wholly vegan source of vitamin D3, as well as providing both vitamin B12 and the benefits of seaweed.

All of this allows our Immunity+ capsules to contribute to numerous health benefits, including immune system function, thyroid health, metabolism, cognitive function and muscle function, as well as reducing tiredness and fatigue.

Discover Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® Immunity+ capsules for yourself today by clicking here. You can even subscribe and save 15% on every order!

References:
[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/
[2] https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2015/04/13/Vitamin-D2-vs-D3-Same-for-boosting-D-levels-but-D3-superior-for-sustaining-levels
[3] https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/89/11/5387/2844259
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399494/
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24067388
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18492750
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17023693
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