What is the Difference Between D2 and D3 Vitamins?

Vitamins are organic molecules that are taken in minute quantities for the proper functioning of the body. There are different types of vitamins—Vitamin A, B, D etc. There is a much broader classification of vitamins like fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamin D.

Although these are required in small quantities, they are important for the normal metabolism of the body. A normal person has 20 nanograms of vitamin D per ml or above.

Forms of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is taken in, in two forms; vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.

In the circles of health-conscious people, there is always a fight going on, which is all about vitamin d2 vs d3.

Both are sources of vitamin D but have their differences.

Alternate Names:

Vitamin D 2 is also called Ergocalciferol, whereas Vitamin D3 is called Cholecalciferol. There are some molecular differences in both.


Although both are sources of Vit-D, their own sources of origin are different. Vit D2 comes from plants like oats and almonds. The rich sources of Vit D2 are normally fortified foods like milk and other dairy products.

On the other hand, vitamin D3 sources are animals and humans. Since vitamin D3 is an active form of Vitamin D, our skin is enriched with Vitamin D3, especially if it is exposed to sunlight.


Both vitamins have the same function that is to increase the reserves of vitamin D. When the vitamin D2 consumed from the artificial supplements and vitamin D3 attained through animals in the human body are exposed to sunlight, it penetrates through the skin and turns them into active vitamin D. However, it is said that vitamin D2 produces less calcifediol than vitamin D3.

The liver is responsible for the metabolism of vitamin D2 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D2, whereas vitamin D3 is metabolized into 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. Both these products are collectively called calcifediol.

The Overall Functions of Vitamin D

Vitamin D

The little amounts of vitamin D have a vast array of functions. In the intestines, they increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. In the bones, they are responsible for bone mineralization. They induce differentiation in the immune cells.

Deficiency of Vitamin D

It is obvious that a nutrient that plays multi-dimensional roles in the normal functioning of your body like vitamin D does by playing an active role in the nervous, muscular and immune systems, the deficiency of it can cause serious problems.

Osteoporosis being the fine example. Since vitamin D plays an active role in calcium levels, lack of it can lead to loss of bone density, ultimately resulting in osteoporosis. Ultimately, the bones will become susceptible to fractures. The deficiency of vitamin D may be contributing to sclerosis. Research is underway to yet prove the contribution of deficiency of vitamin D in other diseases like auto-immune maladies.

Overconsumption of Vitamin D

Excess of everything is bad. The access of vitamin D is no exception to this statement. The overconsumption of Vitamin D can result in an abundance of calcium in your blood flow. The inevitable result would be hypercalcemia. This condition causes confusion, disorientation and fluctuations in the heart rate. Poor appetites, nausea and vomiting, could be other consequences of vitamin D toxicity.

Final Say

Vitamin D2 is said to be cheaper than Vitamin D3. That explains why we have more artificial supplements for it. To have a sufficient amount of vitamin D in your body, it is important to make use of sunlight as well as a diet rich in vitamin D2 and D3. But if you are specifically concerned with taking in only one diet plan to increase your supply of Vitamin D, then go for sources that are enriched in vitamin D3. The justification for such a preference is based on the scientific claims that vitamin D3 produces a higher quality of vitamin D and is a long producing source of it, in the body.


It is always advised to not let your skin remain exposed to the sunlight for longer periods of time for overcoming or preventing the deficiency of vitamin D. In doing so; you put your skin at risk of skin cancer because the harmful radiations can tear your skin and admit you into serious illnesses. Always opt for a healthy diet, like consuming fish or egg yolks, cereals and oats to keep your vitamin D in balance. NIH reports that half a cup of raw white mushrooms contains 46% of an adult’s recommended daily value of vitamin D. Thus, you can incorporate these supplements into your diet to ensure a rich consumption of Vitamin D for your body.

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