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Difference Between Vitamin D and D3

July 05, 2018

Difference Between Vitamin D and D3

Did you know that more than 90 percent of Americans are deficient in at least one nutrient?

For 41.6 percent of the population, that nutrient is vitamin D.

To make matters worse, these people also often don't realize that there are multiple types of vitamin D, including vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 is an especially common vitamin D deficiency.

Read on to learn more about the difference between vitamin D and D3 and how each one can benefit you.

What is Vitamin D?

All vitamins are important, but vitamin D is an especially important nutrient because it functions like a hormone in the body.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that performs a number of essential functions, including the following:

  • Balancing mood
  • Managing insulin levels
  • Maintaining a healthy metabolism
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Keeping the bones healthy and strong

Clearly, vitamin D isn't a nutrient you want to be missing out on.

Difference Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3

Vitamin D comes in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.

Vitamin D2, which is also known as ergocalciferol, comes from vitamin supplements, fortified foods, and some plant foods like mushrooms.

Vitamin D3, which is also known as cholecalciferol, on the other hand, comes from a number of animal foods, including fatty fish like salmon, cod liver oil, eggs, and liver. Vitamin D3 is also made internally when the skin is exposed to the sun's UV rays.

Most vitamin D supplements are made with vitamin D3 and for good reason.

Research shows that the body absorbs and uses vitamin D3 much better than vitamin D2.

Daily Vitamin D Requirements

In order to reap the benefits of vitamin D (and, more specifically, vitamin D3), you should make sure you're getting adequate amounts from both the sunlight and your diet.

Ideally, you'll get approximately 80 percent of your vitamin D from the sun and only 20 percent from your diet.

This can be difficult for some people, though, especially if they live in a place where sun exposure is hard to come by. In these cases, consuming a good vitamin D3 supplement can be beneficial.

For adults aged 18 to 70, the minimum recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 15 micrograms. For adults over the age of 70, doctors recommend at least 20 micrograms per day.

Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

How can you tell if you're getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D?

A blood test from your doctor can help you figure out if you're deficient. But, there are also quite a few signs that can point you in that direction.

Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency that you need to be on the lookout for include:

  • Dealing with frequent illnesses and infections
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bone and/or back pain
  • Depression
  • Slow wound healing
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle pain

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to figure out if a vitamin D deficiency is a culprit.

Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency

Long-term vitamin D deficiency is associated with a number of serious health problems, including:

  • Rickets
  • Skeletal diseases like osteoporosis
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cognitive problems
  • Psychological disorders
  • Obesity

In order to avoid these conditions and maintain optimal health, make sure you're getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D each day, whether that's through food and sunlight or with the help of a vitamin D supplement.

Tips for Finding the Right Vitamin D Supplements

In order to see the greatest results from your vitamin D supplements, it's important to make sure you're buying a high-quality product. Some tips to make sure you're getting a good product include:

Look for Vitamin D3

As you probably remember, the body can use vitamin D3 much more efficiently than it can use vitamin D2. Make sure any vitamin D supplement you're buying uses vitamin D3 to help you see maximum results.

If you're a vegan and are worried about using accidentally consuming animal products, look for a supplement that derives its vitamin D3 from a vegan source such as lichen.

Remember that More Isn't Necessarily Better

While it's important to make sure you're getting enough vitamin D, getting too much won't necessarily do your body any favors. In fact, you could end up struggling with vitamin D toxicity, which causes symptoms like weakness and nausea.

To avoid this, get your vitamin D levels tested beforehand and then choose a dose that helps fill in the gaps.

Look for Third-party Certifications

Third-party certifications are a good sign that the company that produced the supplement is dedicated to providing customers with a good product. If they're willing to pay an independent lab to test their product and make sure it's of a high-quality, it's probably safe to give them your money.

Try Liquids or Gel Capsules Instead of Solid Pills

Liquids and gel capsules are more likely that solid pills to break down in the stomach, which allows your body to actually absorb the vitamin D.

Solid pills are also often held together with binders that may cause stomach upset.

Take them with Fat

Remember, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. That means it needs to be consumed with a fat source in order for your body to absorb it properly.

One study found that people who consumed vitamin D3 alongside a high-fat meal experienced 32 percent better absorption that the people who consumed the supplement alongside a fat-free meal.

Now, this isn't an excuse to hit up your favorite fast-food breakfast join on a regular basis. Make sure you're consuming vitamin D with a healthy fat source like whole eggs or avocado.

Buy High-Quality Supplements Today

Now that you know the difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3, do you think need to add a supplement to your daily routine? If so, it's important to make sure you're using a high-quality brand that your body can easily utilize.

To find the best vitamin D3 supplements on the market, check out our online store today.

We have several different forms of vitamin D3 available -- including capsules and liquid supplements -- so you can choose the type that works best for your needs.

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