Understanding the vitamin D3 and D2 difference is essential as only one of them truly benefits your health. Both are forms of vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient you need to stay healthy. However, while vitamin D3 is active and can be easily assimilated, vitamin D2 requires a lot of resources for your body to actually use.
Vitamin D3 and D2 Difference: History of Discovery
Vitamin D was discovered in 1922 when studying the reasons why cod liver oil helped treat and prevent rickets. For almost a decade before this, it was mistaken for vitamin A. The fun thing is that vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin, at least, it’s very different from the others.
Unlike essential nutrients we are used to getting from food, this element is produced by our own bodies. It’s synthesized from cholesterol through a complex biochemical reaction that happens when skin is exposed to the sunlight. This means that vitamin D is actually closer to hormones than regular nutrients.
The vitamin D3 and D2 difference was discovered a bit down the line when scientists started to wonder why effects of vitamin D supplements varied. While it has been obvious that cod liver oil was highly effective as a food source of this element, fortified products weren’t as good.
That’s when the questions of vitamin D3 and D2 difference first popped up and biologists soon found the answer. It’s a scientifically proven fact that vitamin D3 is better than D2. The D3 form of the element is chemically active. This means that your body can absorb and use it effectively.
Cod liver is the #1 food that provides you with this particular variety of the nutrient. The vast majority of vitamin D fortified foods, and many supplements, contain D2. As it’s inactive, your body can process only the barest minimum of the element that you get from these products. The rest flushes from your systems partially, but some amounts of it remain. That’s an important matter as the excess of this element might cause a variety of health problems.
Vitamin D Toxicity and Related Issues
One of the main reasons why everyone should understand the vitamin D3 and D2 difference is that overloading on D2 supplements is dangerous. It’s true that vitamin D toxicity caused by the excess of this element is rare. However, as all of those cases are caused by incorrect supplementation, one must be wary.
You must understand that there is no definitive line between the safe and unsafe amounts of vitamin D. No conclusive studies on the subject exist, but there are two things you can do to reduce the risk:
- Only take vitamin D supplements occasionally (1-2 courses a year).
- Choose vitamin D3 supplements over D2 as they are easily absorbed and actually do you good.
The vitamin D3 and D2 difference should be your main consideration when designing your diet. You must understand that fortified foods might not be as good for you as they seem. Therefore, while it’s true that vitamin D improves calcium absorption, eating products that contain D2 and calcium won’t make your body much stronger.
How to Get a Healthy Level of Vitamin D in You
Vitamin D in your diet will always be limited as only a few foods contain small measures of it. The only way to synthesize the element in healthy amounts is to be exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. However, the current levels of UV radiation make the threat of skin cancer a more serious matter than vitamin D deficiency.
This means that supplementation is the best (and in many cases only) way to get this element into you. Considering the vitamin D3 and D2 difference, you must make sure that the products you take are D3. Nature’s Potent has quite a few D3 supplements in their catalog: