There are at least five types of vitamin D. The most crucial types of D vitamins for the body are vitamins D2 and D3. Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because you obtain it from sunlight exposure to the skin. It really is like a walk in the park to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D, specifically D2, is known as ergocalciferol. This compound is most often found in plants and fungus like mushrooms and spinach. Dietary supplements are another way to get vitamin D2. Some fortified foods will also contain most of your D vitamins including vitamin D2. Beware, though: this vitamin can be toxic to the body if taken in excess.
What is Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3 is known as cholecalciferol. You can find or get this vitamin from sunlight absorption, egg yolks, oily fish; specifically, tuna, mackerel, salmon, and sardines, unpasteurized milk and a few types of yogurt. It is found in a few fortified foods along with the other D vitamins.
Reasons Why Both Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 Are Important
In modern times, many people have been shown to be vitamin D deficient. This is dangerous for many reasons, and we’ll discuss why below:
- You can end up developing bone abnormalities such as osteoporosis (fragile bones) and osteomalacia (soft bones.) It is especially crucial for women to get enough vitamin D since they are most at risk.
- Deficiencies with your immune response, thus making you more susceptible to flu, colds, and other diseases.
- Your body would be unable to efficiently absorb calcium and phosphorus.
- You may end up suffering from anxiety and/ or depression, as these are also two of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
By getting that nice, daily dose of vitamin D – specifically D3 – you improve both your physical and mental health. Vitamin D has been proven to help prevent many health problems such as decreasing your chances of heart disease, multiple sclerosis and simple illnesses like the flu.
Another great benefit is D vitamins help with weight loss!
What is the difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3
The main difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3 is what source your body gets it and how it absorbs it.
Vitamin D3 is the preferred type out of the five D vitamins because it is easily synthesized by the body from sunlight and is readily used by the body in comparison to vitamin D2.
You can get vitamin D3 by simply standing out in the sunlight for 5-10 minutes a day. A couple of easy ways to do this is to go for a short walk outside while running errands or a quick walk in the park or wherever it is safe as long as you are in the sunlight.
Vitamin D2 is absorbed differently and isn’t absorbed as well as vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 has been proven to bind poorly to the body’s blood proteins.
The shelf life of vitamin D2 is also shorter than the shelf life of vitamin D3.
How you may end up vitamin D deficient without realizing it and the symptoms
Beyond playing a game of spot the difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3, there are a few similarities they do share. The main similarity is that you can be deficient in both. Ways in which you can be deficient:
- Living in big cities or areas with high air pollution
- Using sunscreen
- Having darker skin pigmentation
- Spending too much time indoors
- Breastfeeding for prolong periods of time
- Medical conditions that conflict with vitamin D absorption
You may not exhibit symptoms with borderline vitamin D deficiency. If you do show symptoms, here is a list of common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency:
- Depression and/ or anxiety
- Muscle weakness
- Multiple bone fractures and bone pain
- Soft bones
- Difficulty with trying to think clearly
If you feel any of these symptoms, seek out a medical professional as soon as possible.
All in all, vitamin D is an important component for a healthy body. Make sure you get enough vitamin D whether it is through your food or your outside activities. Got milk, anyone?