Difference between Vitamin D and Vitamin D2
What is the difference between vitamin D and vitamin D2? Vitamin D is actually a pro-hormone. It is naturally produced in the body during the sun exposure. To synthesize vitamin D, your skin needs to be exposed to sunrays for nearly fifteen to twenty minutes if you are white-skinned, or thirty minutes if you are dark-skinned. Melanin contained in dark skin acts as a sun block, and that is why dark skin needs to be exposed to sunrays longer.
Vitamin D supplements are used in treating (and preventing) vitamin D deficiency. Most doctors give their patients supplements of vitamin D3. Now, you must be wondering: what is the difference between vitamin D, vitamin D2 and vitamin D3?
What Is the Difference Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D2?
There are 2 basic forms of vitamin D: D2 and D3. Vitamin D3 (also called cholecalciferol) is normally produced in the skin of humans and animals during the sun exposure. This form of vitamin D can also be found in certain foods, like fish oil, dairy products, animal meat (especially liver), and egg yolk. However, you can’t get sufficient amounts of vitamin D from these foods. You would have to eat enormous amounts of fish, eggs, meat or cheese (or any dairy product) to get enough vitamin D – which would be very unhealthy. These foods are considered healthy, but only if you consume them in normal amounts.
Vitamin D2 is also known as ergocalciferol. It is produced by fungi. D2 supplements are not as popular as D3 supplements. There are several good reasons not to buy vitamin D2 supplements without talking to your doctor first. Your body breaks down vitamin D2 into several substances, some of which can be unhealthy for your body. In addition, supplements of vitamin D2 are not as effective as D3 supplements. People who suffer from vitamin D deficiency are usually given D3 supplements to treat this condition.
D2 does not have a very long shelf life. This affects its potency in a rather negative way. According to several researches, vitamin D3 is more potent than D2. However, more researches will have to be done to find out whether vitamin D3 is more effective than D2.
Vitamin D2 is produced by plants. D3 is produced in the skin of animals and humans, and it is also found in animal-derived products.
Vitamin D3 is considered much safer and healthier, compared to D2.
Both D2 and D3 can be found in the form of supplements. However, you must talk to your doctor before you start taking any of these. Keep in mind that some supplements can cause damage to your health, if you use them on your own.
Most patients who suffer from vitamin D deficiency use D3 supplements. Doctors believe that this form of vitamin D gives better results, compared to D2 supplements.
Vitamin D deficiency is a serious condition. Sometimes, vitamin D deficiency treatment requires extremely large doses of vitamin D supplements. In case of severe deficiency, the dosage can go up to 50,000 International Units per week. There can be certain side effects, but these usually subside once the patient’s vitamin D levels improve.
If you think you are deficient in vitamin D, you need to visit your doctor and check your vitamin D levels. It is important to have your vitamin D levels measured before you decide to take any supplements. Your doctor will give you the right dosage, based on your test results. Many people believe that over-the-counter products (dietary supplements) cannot be harmful. This belief is certainly wrong. Anything can be harmful if you don’t use it properly. To find out whether you need supplementation, visit your doctor.