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Is vitamin D the Same as D3?

You must have heard people suggesting each other bask in the Sun for vitamin D, but have you ever searched about its types? Is vitamin D the same as D3? Or is there any other hidden category of this micronutrient? What could be the possible similarities and differences between these two? This article mainly focuses on the different types of vitamin D and their distinguishing characteristics because it is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies among people of all ages.

When the Sun is rising just above the horizon, covering the entire sky in its illuminating golden rays, it marks the best time to soak yourself in the richness of vitamin D that is accompanied by countless health benefits – one of the most important is a sensation of freshness that tranquilizes your body and soul. In a nutshell, early mornings are the best source of Sunrise vitamin D time.

What is Vitamin D?

Before debating on ‘Is vitamin D the same as D3?’ or ‘Is vitamin D3 the same as D?’, starting the discussion from scratch is crucial. Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble micronutrient that dissolves in the healthy body fats of humans. It plays a critical role in forming and strengthening your skeletal system and regulates your immunity.

Vitamin D comprises a group of fat-soluble components. Therefore, it is also called calciferol or a group of seco-sterols. For the best absorption of calcium and phosphorus, vitamin D is an ‘uptake factor’ to strengthen bone formation and development and is optimum for healthy teeth.

Scientific research suggests that approximately one billion people worldwide have low vitamin D levels in their blood, a gateway to many hazardous diseases, including increased risk of infection, autoimmune disorders, and osteoporosis.

Types of Vitamin D

It is essential to delve into the fundamental types of calciferol before diving into the differentiating discussion on ‘Is vitamin D the same as D3?’. Besides performing its function for the skeletal system, vitamin D is categorized into the following two types and has many other varied functions:

  1. Vitamin D2, referred to as ergocalciferol

  2. Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol

Some critical differences between vitamin D2 and D3 are described below so you can easily understand the science behind this major fat-soluble micronutrient.

Absorption Rate

Vitamin D3 is more biologically active than vitamin D2 because your body efficiently converts it into an active hormonal form of vitamin D, known as calcitriol. Although cholecalciferol is more efficient, the conversion rate of ergocalciferol into calcitriol is relatively slow.

Metabolic Rate

Vitamin D2 is metabolized in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 25(OH)D, the primary circulating form of vitamin D in your body. On the other hand, the metabolic rate of vitamin D3 is relatively higher and supplies the body with a more significant amount of primary vitamin D.


Vitamin D2 has a shorter lifespan of up to two days, while vitamin D3 has a half-life of approximately 14 to 21 days.

Food Source

Plant-based foods, such as mushrooms (grown in UV light), are rich natural sources of vitamin D2, while animal-based foods, such as oily fish, fish oil, liver, egg yolk, and butter, are efficient sources of vitamin D3.

However, industries are fortifying many foods with all the forms of calciferol – vitamins D2, D3, and D.

Read more about ‘Sunset Vitamin benefits.’

A Closer Look:Is vitamin D the same as D3?

Vitamin D’s intricacy helps your body grow and develop by offering vitamin D2 and D3 availability. Now that you know the differences between ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol, it is time to look closely into ‘Is vitamin D the same as D3?’.

  • As vitamin D comprises a group of specific components, it is collectively available in plant- and animal-based foods. Its rich amounts are present in the early sun rays. In contrast, vitamin D3 is found only in animal-based natural foods.

  • Vitamin D3 is a single component, named cholecalciferol, while vitamin D3 is a group of seco-sterols known as calciferol. However, ‘calciferol’ and ‘calciferols’ are used interchangeably – calciferol is the most preferred term.

  • Vitamin D contains D2, which could be toxic due to its lower efficiency, while D3 toxicity is rarely noticed.

  • Vitamin D3 is converted to the active hormone of vitamin D – calcitriol, while vitamin D is already the last by-product of all the metabolic functions.


Hopefully, you’ve clearly understood vitamin D and its types and gained a detailed insight into ‘Is vitamin D the same as D3?’. Fat-soluble vitamins necessitate eating more healthy fats and avoiding trans-fats or unhealthy fats that readily suppress the effects of nutritious components on your body. Whether it is Sunrise Vitamin or sunshine vitamin D, both are mandatory to enhance the quality of life. Always consult a reliable healthcare professional focusing more on consistent healthy eating patterns than perfection.

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