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Difference Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3

vitamin-d_bookVitamin D vs Vitamin D3

If you have been advised a series of vitamins and are wondering about their effects, here are a few facts you need to know about vitamin D. It is one of the more complex vitamins that are needed by the human body in order to grow and develop. Vitamin D is actually available in two forms, cholecalciferol and Ergocalciferol, better known as vitamin D3 and vitamin D2.

First things first. Vitamin D can be found in 2 forms. Vitamin D2 is manufactured by plants or fungus. You would include it through fortified foods such as juices, milk or cereals. However, vitamin D3 is formed when the body synthesizes sunlight on its surface. It mainly occurs through the exposure of the skin to UVA and UVB rays. Vitamin D3 can also be obtained by consuming animal products.

It is also interesting to note that since it is produced in the body, vitamin D is actually considered a hormone and not really a vitamin! Vitamin D is very important as it regulates the production of phosphorous and calcium in the body.

The Vitamin D that you purchased so willingly over the counter in the form of medication can actually be very harmful without supervision. You see, one of the forms of vitamin D, i.e. vitamin D2 is broken down by the body into different substances. Some of these substances can be very harmful for the body. Vitamin D3 is broken down by the body into a substance called calcitrol, which actually has very important cancer fighting properties.

The supplements for vitamin D may be made from either plants or animals. However, if you were looking for a vitamin D3 supplement, you would look for only those available through animal supplements. It is also available from lamb’s wool!

Vitamin D is frequently added to a number of foods, to make them beneficial. However, if you were looking for vitamin D3 in particular, you would have to go for a pill or a liquid form. It is not very common to find it in cereals or juices.

Another important difference is that vitamin D2 has a shorter shelf life compared to vitamin D3. This decreases the potency of the vitamin if it is used as a vitamin supplement. Some researchers however feel that their efficacy is the same.

Summary:

1. Vitamin D is manufactured by both plants and animals. Vitamin D3 is particularly found on the skin of animals, as a byproduct of synthesis.
2. Vitamin D is not beneficial in all its forms. Vitamin D2, one of the forms of vitamin D can be toxic to the body. Vitamin D3 is good for the body.
3. You can get vitamin D from fortified foods or as pills. However, vitamin D3 is only available in the form of pills or in liquids. They are rarely found in foods.
4. Supplements for the two vitamins are sourced differently.
5. The D2 form of the vitamin has a shorter shelf life compared to the D3 form.


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81 Comments

  1. Very interesting article…thank you for the valuable information.

  2. How does the body naturally obtain vitamin D2? You say that is is found in plants and fungi, but then suggest fortified foods. Couldn’t one simply eat leafy green vegetables and/or mushrooms, thereby obtaining a natural and healthy source that the body can metabolise without being overloaded?

    • The vitamine D has been already broken down by your immune system and any intermittent components of your left side intestons. Liloputes will stimulate the ozone squares of your internal communities to source an extra amount of liquidated oxygene 2 mini-points and would transfer those out to your lungs for synthesis known as synthesis-room. Vitamin D. Some mushrooms and greens will have a sufficient amounts of extrafiolatine valancium which will help to extfoliate the sourced amounts of synthesis from your upper body towards the lolwer adrenaline voccum to stabilize your daily intake.
      Hope this helps.

      • My concern is of overdosing on D. Due to vitamin D deficency I take them, but now started D3. 5,000 mg daily. I’m not sure if that too much for my body to handle. Also, I had bariatric surgery, so I only get the benefit from half of what I take.

        • You are supposed to have 10,000 UVI of Vitamin D3 daily, although there was a study in Harvard University I believe, that took patients and gave them 40,000 UVI of Vitamin D3 of which did not cause any harm to the body at all for many years. In fact, you cant get enouph of vitamin D3 specifically.

        • Janelle, you will be fine with 5000 mgs of D-3 per day. Not to worry.

        • Hi Janelle:

          I hope you have researched vitamin D3 and found your answer concerning your question. I am not a medical professional but I can tell you most are vitamin D3 deficient. If you are getting half of the recommended dosage then you should take at least 10,000 International Units per day.

          Most doctors and medical university professors who have studied the benefits of vitamin D3 suggest 5,000 International Units daily.

          My experience with vitamin D3 have been extremely positive by taking 5,000 I.U. daily. Before taking it I would wake up and have to wait 30 or more seconds before getting out of bed because of my balance. Now I can get up immediately.

          I began my vitamin D3 in January 2010. I took 20,000 I.U. daily for one week and then 5,000 I.U. daily. In March I had a complete physical. My doctor did a calcium test as I requested.

          My result was 41%. The minimum is 40%. The result shows I was very deficient.

          Some good links are You Tube vitamin D3 and “http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/”.

          Good luck and make sure you get enough vitamin D3!

          Murel

          • Not to worry – I am a diabetic and I take upwards of 15000 to 30 or sometimes 40ooo D3 aday gotta help that calcium get into my cells and bones.
            My worry is Calcium intake? there are so many types of cacium that, for me it is scary as there have been heart-attacks associated with calcium intake. We have calcium from limestoneor rocks which i feel can be damaging to blocking our arteries and bloodvessels leading to massive heart-attacks!!
            Which are the best? Calcium made from rocks? Calcium made from Sea Coral or Algae? Algae is alive. Also Algae is the newest and sounds like it might be the best. Algae cells are alive and it has trace elements etc. But I don’t know? If you know? Email oceantor2@hotmail.com

          • floyd..calcium is CALCIUM..any will do ..some are harder to release than others…but in general theyre all the same irregardless of what the wackos claim..obviously a limestone rock takes longer than a tums

      • That’s interesting…and very amusing. LOL

      • Dr. Varandanjanjian:
        Please give your answer in language that the average person can understand!

        • You’re being a smart a%&! I think everyone understood the explanation except for you.

          • I have little idea either……… very specialised biological terminology for the “layperson” (or general public)
            I concur, that this is sometimes a problem with “some” doctor>civilian communications, we aren’t all experts…..

            I’m not being a smart arse either, but the terminology is
            Can someone please illiterate what Dr Varandanjanjian said?

            Mainly, this part: (and yes i do know what 03 is, but Dr V failed to explain the importance of this….. And yes, i am honestly very interested to hear…)

            “Liloputes will stimulate the ozone squares of your internal communities to source an extra amount of liquidated oxygene 2 mini-points and would transfer those out to your lungs for synthesis known as synthesis-room. Vitamin D”

            Thanks in advance….

          • im a medical doctor and phd biochemist and i have no clue what she, this lady doc, said dear..grow up
            by the way..if your doctor said take 5000 take 5000

            im pretty sure he or she KNOWS what they are talking about..

            there are 2 theories on medications…
            1 start low, for safety and work UP

            2 start hi and work down depending on reactions

            unless theres an emergency starting low doses and safely is the way to go

            doc johnny

      • i know it’s english…but I have no clue what that Doctor V said. can anyone translate? O_o

      • Slam dunkin like Shaquille O’Neal, if he wrote infrmotaive articles.

      • This is made up crap. You also have several spelling errors. Isn’t it a crime to impersonate a doctor?

        • hmmm..as i recall most docs cant spell nor type nor write nor sign their names worth a hoot..no one cares…

          thats why prescriptions used to always be wrong..no one could read them…

          and just FOR YOU..i spelled checked every word

          doc johnny

      • This “Dr. Alisha Moora Varandanjanjian” is some kind of clown. It’s all jibberish.

        - The only “ozone square” I’ve found searching online is a square-dancing club in Louisiana.

        - Extrafiolatine is not a word. The closest search hit is “extra folates” … Folates are B vitamins.

        - Lilopute is not a word. Lilliput is an imaginary country inhabited by people about 6 in. (15 cm) tall, described in Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” (1726).

        - Etc …

  3. I am taking a high quality Vitamin D supplement daily, and recently, my doctor suggested very high dosages of D3 daily. How do I know if the D supplement I’m taking is predominantly D2 or D3? Would I do better to purchase a supplement specifically branded as D3?

    The doctor’s recommendation was for D3, but I already have these supplements, so I’m unsure if I should finish them off in very high doses, or toss them and go for the D3.

    Thanks!
    Brandye

    • Read the lable. You most likely have d3

    • I wouldn’t go for the overdose. Find out by searching your current prescription’s name, or ask your pharmacist or your doctor may even be able to help.

    • youre insane dear..with all due respects…

      follow the docs instructions

      theres a reason for the doseage..unless youre never going back to this doc

      the doseage will be adjusted based on RESULTS of your useage…if you want to self medicate…dont go back to a doctor

  4. I have to be on Vit D3 , it bothers my stonmach what now, i hade to quit it???

  5. I had extensive back surgery 3 mos. ago. Vit. D is good for bone growth. Thanks for differentiating between D3 and D2. If I am on other medication…does it effect Vit D3?

  6. Hi,
    If someone can let us know on the benefit effects of Vitamin D3 on a pregnant woman, that would be helpful.

    Thanks..

  7. Wow! What a fountain of great information! Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge!

  8. So if I am taking the supplement Calcium with Vitamin D3 in liquid form from Wellesse both containing 1000 UI…I take 500(1Tbsp) after breakfast and the other one after dinner. My nutritionist says I still have to take the Vitamin D pill along with that..is that true? Is that too much Vitamin D?

    • You should be having in the entire day…….10’000 UI of vitamin D…………

    • you should DO what your doctor tells you for YOUR specific situation..all these comments mean well but are for GENERALITY and the AVERAGE , whatever that means, person..youre going to a DOCTOR..which means youre not AVERAGE..you have a REASON to be going to a doctor…LISTEN to your DOCTOR

      or quit going

  9. Hi
    I am 40 years old and I have vitamine D deficiency. My GP prescriped me

    Vi-De 3 from Novartis

    I read the prescription and there is no mention for adults it is for children.
    He asked me to take 5 drops/day

    Here is what is written on the medicine:

    cholecalcifrolum 0.0001125 g (= vitamine d3 4500 U. I)

    Please let me know if the dose is ok for my age since it is the same as for children as mentioned in the prescription.
    Thanks
    Jean

    • you could have 40’000 UI of vitamin D for many months before any symptoms would happen……

      why??? IDK but it doesn’t really matter how much you take even with other meds…don’t stress it……

      • nick..quit trying to prescribe higher doses than ordered by their doctors…

        doctors are building a specific plan of attack for a specific person..to be adjusted at next appointment

        you have NO CLUE what 40k will do to THIS person..quit acting like dr alisha above
        no doctor in his right mind is going to change another doctors orders from a thousand miles away BLIND

        grow up\\doc johnny

  10. Magnesium is the important too. In fact, it is common for rising vitamin D levels to exacerbate an underlying magnesium deficiency. If one is having problems supplementing with vitamin D, a magnesium deficiency could be the reason why.

  11. ‘Have been eating D3, 6000 IU for about 8 or 9 years.

  12. Could be “Beta Blocker” as “Atenolol” the reason for Vit. D deficiency? If it could
    be which one of Vit.D is more beneficial for the problem? Food or supplements?
    Thanks!

  13. The label on my prescription bottle does not say if I am taking D or D3. I take one pill (50,000 IU) once a week and have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. I had a reclast infusion with adverse side effects for a month & a half period of time. How much Vitamin D3 should I be taking?

    • Why do you need a scrip for an OTC vitamin?

      Go to your nearest health food store and simply get a sublingual 10K IU D3.

      BTW, it is best if one also uses a Ca-K-Mg supplement as well. As noted above, most people are magnesium-deficient, as evidenced by a lot of muscle cramps, especially in the legs. The body needs all three in a good balance to work its best (along with trace phospohrous).

      A good B12 supplement is important as well as it helps the brain and neural connections (as does good cholesterol!) and helps counteracts excitotoxicity from MSG and heavy metals in the brain–that includes helping both ASDs and Alzheimers and Parksinsons as well.

    • If it’s prescription, it’s D2, not D3.

  14. I was told by my doctor that i’m deficient in Vitamin D and she said to take 5000 iu daily. Do I need to take D2 or D3…Doctor didn’t specify!!!? My Doc was in so much hurry to hang up the phone. I didn’t even know they come in different factors (D2, D3) until I went to buy them at the pharmacy! I’m stumped…what should i do?

  15. Love the way you wrote the article and the summary at the end. Thanks. :-)

  16. Why does vitaminD give me DIAHERIA so bad? I can’t funtion? Should I try vitamin D-3? Thank you for any can of input. Dianne ;-)

  17. OK, so here’s one… my husband and I started taking 2,000 IU’s of D3 and our calcium, which we have been taking for several years has 200 IU’s of D3. His blood work prior to ever taking 2000 IU’s of D3 was fine, never was brought up in the follow up exam. Now, his recent blood work (about two weeks ago) shows his D levels were deficient and the Dr. wants him to take 50000 of D booster and have a bone density test. Has anyone ever heard of this kind of thing happening before? Should he go have another blood work up done? Are there any known prescriptions or other vitamins that can cause the D3 to be absorbed so much, it becomes deficient instead of sufficient?

  18. My doctor told me I need to take 5,000 vitamen d I.u a day to. And calcium but u need more vitamen d then calcium because the calcium absorbs some vitamen d

  19. My Doctor just prescribed me 100,000 units a week of Vit D. AFter reading your article I’m a bit scared to take it. Should I call her back and ask for D3? My level was 7

    • Hi, guys. I don’t know who Dr, V is and wouldn’t trust anything you didn’t research for yourself, or with your own doctor. That being said, I also suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. My Doctor, correctly, prescribed 50,000 IU for me for a month. Followed by 5k maintenance. There were no unpleasant side affects, only positive ones. When receiving a prescription for Vit D it IS Vitamin D3. This deficiency, if untreated, has some very real and serious effects!! Don’t try to do it with a normal store bought supplement. Although you can, if you go to Long’s or CVS, their store brand is only 3-500 IU….so you would pretty much need to take the whole bottle. Also, the prescription is usually a much less expensive alternative. ** One last note, if you are opposed to the prescription form, Whole Foods sells a 1oz. bottle of liquid D3, only 5 drops= 5,000 IU, so you can adjust per your prescription. (There price this week was $7.99 us) Happy to share some of my experience on this topic and hope it helps. Still, doing your own research is always the best policy in the world of get ‘em in and get’em out Dr’s visits. Good Luck to all!!

    • first get the prescription..second take 1/4 dose day one 1/2 day 2 3/4s day 3

      full dose day 4..

      if any complications CALLL your damm doctor ….

      not an internet forum of strangers…geeesh…

      doc johnny

  20. My confusion comes into play after having tons of bloodowrk after complaints of just being so tired all of the time. I could sleep all day, every day with very little waking hours. I take, as my Rx each day prozac 60mg in the AM, Clonazepam PRN, Suboxone 8 mg PRN and Toprol XL 12.5 mg each evening. Everything comes back normal except a Vitamin D Deficiency. ?!?! So, I’m supposed to be taking plain Vitamin D, 2000 IU per day. I read that someone said long term usage of beta blockers could eventually cause a Vit D drop. My question is am I at any risk for overdose, and will this extra vitamin D supplement cause anything else to go unbalanced in my blood chemistries making things worse? Does Vitamin D Supplementation interfere with any Prescription drugs that I am taking?

  21. Dear Dr. Alisha Moora Varandanjanjian,

    I have cancer and am looking for natural therapies such as Vit. D3. How high an intake should I take to dissolve the growths, and are there other nutrients you believe should accompany the D3?

    Thank you for your article and your assistance,
    Mary

  22. Fascinating information. Your theme is great and very accurate. This is the most judicious, comprehensive and agreeable article.

  23. these are very very essential information about vitamins . This can be life saving for some one but it should use in proper way with your health care advisor.

  24. i was told my level of vitamin d was 15. and told to take 1,000 units a day of D which D are they talking about and is 1,000 enough for such a low level?

  25. i would like to know which is better for testing — vit D OR vit D3

  26. Ok so d3 seems to be the way to go. But if for example you are taking 5000 iu, should you also be taking a calcium or,and a magnesium supplement?

  27. LOL! @ all the ignorance on here… 10 min of sun on your skin per day and BAM, done. you do NOT need to supplement “vitamin” D (like the article said, it isn’t even a vitamin). It’s something your body makes naturally, in your skin, when it’s exposed to UV.

    i’ve been a vegan (no animal-based foods whatsoever, so zero D3) for over 11 yrs, i get full yearly check-ups including blood tests, and i’ve NEVER been found to be deficient in ANYTHING (the doc always says my health is outstanding).

    the only people who have “vitamin” D problems are very dark-skinned people (like africans or many indians) who live in high latitudes, since their dark skin (higher levels of the pigment melanin) is an adaptation for living in equatorial regions with lots of sunlight year-round. the melanin blocks a lot of the UV, so if you’re of african or indian (or native american or native australian) descent and are living in an area that gets low light, like say canada in the winter, then your skin could have trouble synthesizing the steroid hormone called “vitamin” D. in that case, you’d need to supplement it (or you might get rickets!).

    Again, like the article says, “vitamin” D is not a vitamin at all. it’s a steroid hormone. but the article is full of excrement when it says everyone should be supplementing D3. I’ve never supplemented it in my life, i haven’t consumed a molecule of it in over 11 yrs, and my D level is perfectly fine. your body MAKES the stuff… you do NOT need to eat it (unless you’re living in a latitude for which your ancestors did not properly prepare you, LOL).

    this site has so much potential, but it looks like the articles are just written by random clownies who don’t necessarily know what they’re talking about. shame…

    • You are partially correct. However, you leave out all of the people who live in colder climates or have seasons that do not have year round sunlight. Also, those who have malabsorbtion problems due to chrons disease, bariatric surgeries, or intestinal ulcerations. I’m every so happy for you that you are healthy and get sunshine on a daily basis, but that’s not the case around the world.

  28. What an educational article, thank you for sharing your expertise.

  29. I’m talking VitD 5000 iu’s Sublingual,and it has VitB6 250%,Folic Acid 100%,and B12 16666%,and Biotin 8%. Is Vit. D3 that much better,and will the VitD also help in fighting Cancer…??? LIKE VIT D3

  30. I take vitamin D3, 4,000 IU, and 800 mg of Magnesium, and 99 mg of Potassium a day. Be aware that Fluoride is an atagonistic of Magnesium. Try to avoid Fluoride all together. It is basically a poison. It is minimally effective to begin with, and is a “TOPICAL” application, not to be ingested, in unknown quantities! Fluoride is a by product of Phosphate mining! It is being found that it is causing a lot of problems with our health. To give you an idea of how toxic it is, look at the directions on the back of your tooth paste tube. It reccomends a pea sized lump of paste on your tooth brush, and it says if swallowed, call poison control immediately! It is not the big glob you see on the front of the tube, or in advertisements. So if you are low in magnesium, you need to see if you are ingesting Fluoride, in one form or another. I drink Zephyr hills pure spring water. No Fluoride, as some brands do contain it. Another source for good information, is the People’s Pharmacy, with Joe, and Dr. Terry Graedon. He is a Pharmacist, and she is a Medical Anthropologist. Also be careful of the ingredients of the brand of D3 you buy. Some like the liquid forms, contain, soy, and corn, and or safflower oil. Appx. 96 % of all corn, and soy beans, and a high percentage of Safflower, is GMO, Genetically Modified Organism. You DO NOT want to take any GMO food! Regardless of what Monsanto will say, it is not safe. There are more than enough independent studies showing it nasty stuff, but being that all the upper echelon of the FDA are all former Monsanto employees, Monsanto has no problem what so ever getting anything approved by the FDA. Take it with however many grains of salt you want, but I will avoide any GMO product, including the now approved salmon, and alfalfa. Back to D3, take 5 – 6000 iu, a day, with Magnesium, and Potassium, and a Zinc supplement, and you will be fine.
    All four are very important to a healthy body, and mind. Along with exercise, it is even better. : ) I hope this helps with any confusion, again, you can go on line to the People’s Pharmacy, and get tons of info.

    Richard

    • Richard,
      Thanks for the input on floride. Floride is a toxic substance that “officials” have been putting in our municipal water suppies for decades. I drink only distilled water, but washing with municipal water is what is harming the public. I started on 1K-IU of D3 and B12 and felt better and then went to 5K-IU’s of D3. I will add a po/mag/zink. You input is very helpful.
      Thank you and Happy New Year.

  31. Hate to say this as an American, but I bet it was an American who actually thought that mumbo-jumbo from that fake doctor meant something. We have really got to do something about our educational system. It is really sad that people can’t tell the difference between nonsense and information.

  32. Its interesting that Dr V said that vitamin D is broken down by the immune system but the incidences of immune diseases is on the rise,
    Vtiamin D is a HORMONE get that thru your head.
    15 mins of sun on simply your hand a day should be enough vit D
    If your deficeient on vitamin D then taking more is not the answer get off all vitamin D and after awhile you may start to feel better.
    I have but its more than that.
    Vitamin D in any form is going to kill you. Its a bloody hormone people you have to wean off of it. and there are some pretty happy people making alot of money from everyone buying these products we call them the vitamin D guys check out http://www.marshallprotocol.com before you take another hormone pill

  33. Lots of really good stuff here. And mixed messages, unfortunately, but that’s par for the course these days. I’d like to add a little well-intentioned advice. Remember that vitamin K is necessary for absorption of other nutrients. And be alert that not all forms of B12 supplements are equally beneficial and can actually be harmful and counterproductive. Like forms of D, most doctors are clueless and will prescribe the wrong kind. Take only B12 formulated with Methylcobalamin. A question I personally would like addressed is content of liquid supplements. Being over 60, I’ve made it a practice to take liquid rather than capsule whenever possible for better absorption. But I am concerned now with the possible additional GMO ingredients. Can anyone suggest liquid supplements that are guaranteed non-gmo? Thanks so much!

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