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Difference Between Vitamin D and D3 - What are they and what are their benefits?

Difference Between Vitamin D and D3 - What are they and what are their benefits?

It is very likely that you’ve heard about vitamin D. In a time where taking vitamins, nutrients and taking care of your health is gaining popularity and becoming trendier, it is vital to know what your body needs and why. However, do you know that there is another component to it which is called vitamin D3? What is the difference between vitamin D and D3? 

Do you know how much your body needs both vitamins and how they help you?

In this article, you can learn all about vitamin D and vitamin D3 and all its benefits. 

What is Vitamin D?

In order to understand Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds. The term “vitamin D” includes all the compounds including vitamins D-1, D-2 and D-3. The two most common types are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2.

Another term for it is “sunshine vitamin”. This is because it is produced in your skin in response to sunlight. However, despite its name, vitamin D is not a vitamin but a prohormone or a precursor of a hormone. 

Vitamins are nutrients that the body cannot create which means that a person must consume them via diet or other sources. However, the body can produce vitamin D. 

Of course, it has several important functions and the lack of this vitamin will bring many health problems. It is essential that the body has enough vitamin D in order to function well. 

What is Vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3 is a component of vitamin D. 

This component is found in animal-sourced food such as fish, liver, egg yolk, butter and other supplements. 

When your skin is exposed to sunlight, your skin is able to make vitamin D3. More specifically, or in simple terms, ultraviolet radiation triggers the formation of vitamin D3.

Unlike other components of vitamin D, it is impossible for you to overdose on vitamin D3. This is because if your body has enough of it, it simply produces less. 

Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 Benefits 

Vitamin D and vitamin D3 play multiple roles in the body. Keep in mind that vitamin D3 is a component of vitamin D. Among the benefits are:

1. Promoting healthy bones and teeth

This vitamin plays a very significant role in the regulation of calcium and maintaining phosphorus levels in the blood. In order to maintain healthy bones, calcium is essential to ensure you have high bone density and prevent osteoporosis. 

Vitamin D plays an important role in helping your intestines to simulate and absorb calcium. If you do not have enough vitamin D, your intestines do not absorb the available calcium. This leads to your kidneys excreting the calcium, leaving your body lacking. 

2. Reduced risk of flu

In a research, it was suggested that vitamin D had a protective effect against the influenza virus. In a time where protection against sickness, particularly the flu, it is essential to ensure you have enough vitamin D. 

However, further research is necessary to confirm the protective effect of this vitamin on the flu as other studies did not have the same effect. 

3. Stabilize mood

If you are experiencing emotional difficulties, it might be a good idea to go out and get some sun. Synthesis of vitamin D that happens with direct exposure to sun rays could improve the level of the vitamin in your body and reduce the symptoms of clinical depression.

Although other treatment might be needed, you should ensure that there is adequate proper absorption of this vitamin first. 

4. Promotes dental health

Apart from keeping bones strong, studies have shown that vitamin D can potentially decrease inflammation in your mouth. It may also decrease affection for oral microbes that are related to gum disease.

Bleeding gums and tooth decay are the two most common issues that are associated with dental health. While most of us focus on brushing our teeth regularly to maintain our teeth, it is also important to look at the presence of vitamin D.

Have you ever wondered why some traditional cultures never touched a toothbrush and yet, had very little tooth decay?

One of the main factors contributing to this is the presence of vitamin D. It has been proven that this amazing vitamin has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects that are crucial as it helps to create bony structures that makeup tooth enamel.

Dentin is located right under the enamel. Dentin consists of live cells that help to transmit impulses from the root to the dental pulp. To put it simply, dentin consists of “guardian cells” located at the border of your enamel.

These guardian cells help to repair damaged dentin and are only possible if there is enough vitamin D present.

Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 Deficiency Symptoms

Although the body can create these vitamins, a deficiency can occur for many reasons. As symptoms are generally subtle, some people may not be able to recognize the symptoms easily. Therefore, watch out for some signs which include:-

1. Fatigue and tiredness

This symptom is often overlooked in cases of low vitamin D. Case studies show that low blood levels can cause tiredness.

Consuming vitamin D3 supplements or increasing the vitamin D blood level can resolve this symptom.

2. Getting sick often

Vitamin D3 plays an important role in keeping your immune system strong to protect your body. A strong immune system helps to fight bacteria and viruses. 

If you have an unusual cause of fever, cold or flu, low vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor. 

3. Bone and back pain

Vitamin D helps to protect your bones by helping your body absorb calcium and keep your bones strong and healthy. Lower back pain or general bone pain could be signs of inadequate vitamin levels in your blood.

4. Depression

Vitamin D deficiency can be a contributing factor to depression. Researches have also proved that the lack of this vitamin causes depression, especially in older adults. 

Therefore, just consuming vitamin D supplements may help to improve mental health. 

How to get vitamin D and vitamin D3?

There are several ways to ensure your body gets enough vitamin D. It is recommended that a daily intake of up to 4,000 IU per day is safe for most people. Although toxicity is rare, it is best to avoid long-term vitamin D doses in excess without first consulting your doctor. 

Among the best ways to get vitamin D is to 

  • Spend time in the sun

The sun is the best source of this nutrient. Your skin hosts a type of cholesterol that functions as a precursor to vitamin D. When this compound is exposed to UV-B radiation which comes from the sun, it becomes vitamin D3. 

However, the amount of vitamin D your body can produce depends on several variables including skin tone and age, sunscreen and clothing as well as geographical location

  • Consumption of fatty fish and seafood

Fatty fish and seafood are among the richest natural food sources of vitamin D3. A 3.5 ounce serving of salmon can provide up to 386 IU of this vitamin. 

Other kinds of fish and seafood that are rich in vitamin D3 include tuna, mackerel, oysters, shrimp, sardines and anchovies.

  • Eat mushrooms

Vegans rejoice! Mushrooms are the only completely plant-based source of vitamin D. Mushrooms can also make their own vitamin D upon exposure to UV light. 

While humans produce vitamin D3, mushrooms produce vitamin D2. Both forms raise circulating vitamin D levels. 

Wild mushrooms usually have more of D2 vitamins due to its exposure to sunlight but please be wary in identifying wild mushrooms that can be eaten. This is to avoid exposure to poisonous varieties.

Best vitamin D and Vitamin D3 supplement

Although there are several other ways, for many people, taking a supplement may be the best way to ensure adequate intake. 

Research suggests that vitamin D3 may be significantly more effective at raising and maintaining overall vitamin D levels than D2. Therefore, look for a supplement with this form. 

Nature's Farm® Vitamin D3 1000IU

It is best to choose supplements that have been tested for purity and quality. Nature’s Farm Vitamin D3 1000IU and NOW Vitamin D-3 1000IU are your best bets for getting your adequate intake of vitamin D and vitamin D3. 

NOW® Vitamin D-3 1,000IU

Conclusion

There is not a big difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3. Usually, when you are lacking in vitamin D3, you are lacking in vitamin D. It is estimated that about one billion people have low levels of these vitamins in their blood but most are unaware of this situation as symptoms are subtle. However, any deficiency is easy to fix via food or supplements. Be sure to get an adequate amount of vitamin D and D3 as there are great benefits for your overall health!

References

10 Things You need to know about Vitamin D. (online) Available at: https://www.getthegloss.com/article/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-vitamin-d [Accessed 10 August 2020]

Interesting Facts About Vitamin D. (online) Available at: https://healthinspireddentistry.com/blogs/interesting-facts-about-vitamin-d/ [Accessed 10 August 2020]

(online) Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/does-vitamin-d-influence-your-dental-health-4144768 [Accessed 10 August 2020]

What are the health benefits of Vitamin D? (online) Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618#deficiency [Accessed 10 August 2020]

8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency. (online) Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms#section9 [Accessed 10 August 2020]

Calcium and Vitamin D: Top Foods to Prevent Osteoporosis (online) Available at: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/calcium-vitamin-d-foods [Accessed 10 August 2020]

How to get vitamin D from sunlight(online) Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-get-vitamin-d-from-sunlight/ [Accessed 10 August 2020]

How to spot a vitamin D deficiency (online) Available at: https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=ca7f4766-8ba8-43a2-bbe7-0ef9efab5c6d [Accessed 10 August 2020]

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