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What is Vitamin D3?

There’s been a lot of talk about Vitamin D…and a lot of confusion too. Nicknamed the sunshine vitamin because your body produces it after sun exposure, Vitamin D is well-known for helping your body absorb calcium, essential for strong bones.

The major forms of Vitamin D are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both forms are fat soluble and can be found as a single supplement or combined with other nutrients.

Why Do I Need Vitamin D?

With the increased use of sunscreen and more time spent indoors, levels of Vitamin D have significantly decreased. In fact, it’s estimated that about 40% of Americans may be deficient.  Individuals living in northern climates where there’s less sunshine, those with darker skin tones, and the elderly may especially be at risk.

Vitamin D Benefits

  • Promotes strong bones
  • Lifts mood
  • Supports respiratory and immune health
  • Fosters brain health and memory
  • Supports heart health
  • Encourages healthy metabolism
  • Fosters muscle tone

What’s the Difference Between Vitamin D2 and D3?

Vitamin D2 (also known as Vitamin D)

  • Known as ergocalciferol
  • The human body does not make Vitamin D2.
  • Derived from plant and fungal source, making it a good choice for vegetarians.
  • Produced by irradiating fungus/yeast with ultraviolet light.
  • The first synthetic form of Vitamin D produced in the early 1920s.
  • Used to fortify foods like dairy, juices and cereals.
  • May be more sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
  • Shorter shelf life.

Vitamin D3

  • Known as cholecalciferol.
  • The human body makes Vitamin D3 from sunshine and is actually considered a hormone.
  • Naturally occurring form made when sunlight hits your skin for 10-15 minutes without sunscreen.
  • Derived from animal sources and made in the skin when 7-dehydrocholesterol reacts with UVB ultraviolet light.
  • Believed to be more effective at increasing levels of Vitamin D in the blood.
  • Is the form most utilized in clinical trials.
  • More stable form when exposed to temperature, humidity, and other environmental conditions.
  • Longer shelf life.

Food sources of D3 include eggs, cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, liver and sardines. Since these foods are often missing from the American diet, many choose to take a high-quality Vitamin D or D3 supplement. If you decide to take Vitamin D, be sure to discuss with your healthcare professional.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary.