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What’s the Difference Between Vitamins D2 and D3?

difference between vitamins D2 and D3

Did you know that there is more than just one type of vitamin D? Of the five most common types, D2 and D3 are the two that play the most important part in our diet. In this article, we’ll take a look at the difference between vitamins D2 and D3.

They Have Different Sources

The main difference between vitamins D2 and D3 is their source.

As a rule, you can only get vitamin D2 from plant-based food. Some of the best dietary sources include different types of fortified foods, as well as mushrooms.

On the other hand, vitamin D3 comes from animal foods. You’ll find it fatty fish, butter, and egg yolks. Vitamin D3 is also present in beef liver, but only in small quantities.

Vitamin D3 Occurs Naturally in Your Body

Whenever you get some sun exposure, your skin starts producing vitamin D3. The ultraviolet B light from the sun rays sends your body signals to start this process. This is very similar to how plants produce vitamin D2.

According to a 2013 study conducted in India, people need to spend at least half an hour in the sun twice a week to get enough of vitamin D3. And because there’s not much sunlight during the cold months, you may also need to take vitamin D3 supplements.

Your Body Absorbs Them Differently

Another difference between vitamins D2 and D3 is how your body absorbs them. When they reach your liver, they transform into active compounds known as calcifediol.

Research has shown that vitamin D3 is much better at boosting your calcifediol levels than D2. So if you have a vitamin D deficiency, experts recommend D3 supplements over D2 ones.

Final Word

No matter what form it’s in, vitamin D is essential to your well-being. If you need to up your vitamin D levels, a balanced diet and exposure to sunlight will usually help. But if they don’t, you can also opt to use vitamin D3 supplements.

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