The Differences Between Vitamin D & Vitamin D3

The Differences Between Vitamin D & Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining our overall health and well-being, which is exactly why you can find Vitamin D3 in our Sunshine Gummy. When people discuss vitamin D, they often refer to both vitamin D and vitamin D3 interchangeably, which can be confusing. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two forms of vitamin D. 

Vitamin D vs. Vitamin D3: What's the Difference?

    1. Chemical Structure:
      • Vitamin D: Vitamin D, in its generic form, refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids, including vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
      • Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is a specific form of vitamin D, cholecalciferol, which is synthesized in the skin when exposed to sunlight and is also found in animal-derived sources such as fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks.
    2. Sources:
      • Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 is primarily found in plant-based sources like mushrooms and fortified foods.
      • Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is mainly obtained from exposure to sunlight and animal-based sources.
    3. Bioavailability:
      • Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 is less effective in raising blood levels of vitamin D compared to vitamin D3.
      • Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is more effective at raising and maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in the body.
    4. Supplementation:
      • Vitamin D: Both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are available as supplements, but many experts recommend vitamin D3 supplements due to their superior bioavailability.
    5. Health Benefits:
      • Vitamin D: Both forms of vitamin D can contribute to bone health, immune system support, and overall well-being.
      • Vitamin D3: Some studies suggest that vitamin D3 may have greater health benefits, particularly in raising and maintaining blood levels of vitamin D.
    6. Deficiency and Toxicity:
      • Vitamin D: A deficiency of either form of vitamin D can lead to health problems.
  • Recommendations:
      • Vitamin D: Dietary recommendations often focus on the total vitamin D intake, combining both forms (D2 and D3).
      • Vitamin D3: Due to its superior bioavailability, vitamin D3 is commonly recommended for supplementation and is often the preferred form for individuals with vitamin D deficiencies.


    1. Holick, M. F. (2007). Vitamin D deficiency. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(3), 266-281. 
    2. Tripkovic, L., Lambert, H., Hart, K., Smith, C. P., Bucca, G., Penson, S., ... & Lanham-New, S. (2012). Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95(6), 1357-1364. 
    3. U.S. National Library of Medicine - MedlinePlus. (2023). Vitamin D. 
    4. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium. (2011). Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. National Academies Press. 

    While vitamin D and vitamin D3 are closely related, they are not the same. Vitamin D encompasses both D2 and D3, with D3 being the more effective form for raising and maintaining optimal vitamin D levels in the body. 

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