Vitamin D3 vs Vitamin D2: Is There A Difference? And Should You Supplement It?

By Dr Olivia Naturals Support • June 02, 2020

Some of the most common questions I get are about Vitamin D. This makes sense because Vitamin D is a crucial mineral for your overall health. It plays a role in bone health, immune system function, and overall mood.


The trouble with Vitamin D is that our bodies need sunshine to produce it. 

Which means with seasonal changes and skin cancer concerns, getting it straight from the source — the sun — year round may be more challenging than you’d think. 

So plenty of people turn to vitamin supplements and fortified foods to boost their Vitamin D levels. 

But if you’ve ever gone shopping for this supplement, you might have felt confused when you didn’t see just Vitamin D. Instead, you probably saw D2, D3, and D complex. 

So you may have found yourself wondering, What is the difference between the two? And how do you know which one to choose?

In this blog post, I’ll share the different types of Vitamin D and which is best for your health goals.

What is Vitamin D2?

Vitamin D2 is produced by plants, such as mushrooms. You’ll find it most commonly in fortified food, such as cereals and breads. 

In supplement form, it is much cheaper to produce and not as absorbable as Vitamin D3. 

So what is Vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3 — referred to as the “sunshine” supplement — is made by your skin when your skin is exposed to enough sunlight. Your location to the equator can be a big determining factor for if you’re getting enough Vitamin D3, as well as the seasonal weather where you live.  

In supplement form, it mainly comes from animal sources, such as fish oil, fatty fish, and egg yolks. 

They can also include great nutrients that make it more absorbable, such as Vitamin K. This is something you can get in dark leafy greens. 

Studies show that Vitamin D3 may be the more effective way to supplement Vitamin D

How do you know if you should supplement Vitamin D? 

According to an article from Harvard Health Publishing, “Vitamin D deficiencies are shockingly common in the United States.” 

In fact, according to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US are deficient.

And in my practice, I’ve seen thousands of people with Vitamin D deficiencies. 

Certain dietary restrictions and certain medications keep you from getting, making, and absorbing Vitamin D properly. 

And there are also other risk factors that can put you at further risk of a deficiency, such as:

  • Having dark skin.
  • Being elderly.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Not eating much fish or dairy.
  • Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round.
  • Always using sunscreen when going out.
  • Staying indoors.


When in doubt about your Vitamin D3 levels, I always recommend supplementing. It plays a critical role in so many areas of health to leave it to chance. 

Should I get tested for a deficiency?

If you’re considering getting tested for a Vitamin D deficiency, I’d recommend getting tested both in the summer and in the winter. 

In the summer, this test can help you see how well you make Vitamin D naturally. And in the winter, this test can show how well you absorb it. 

If your Vitamin D levels are low, it can lead to fatigue, aches and pain, issues with mood, brain fog and getting sick more often. The sweet spot in testing is about 55.

What To Look For In A Supplement 

If you’re looking for an easy, convenient way to get your daily dose, a Vitamin D supplement from a quality source is a great place to start. 

 Vitamin D Complex.

It provides a clinically useful dose of Vitamin D3, along with bioavailable Vitamin K1 (Phytonadione) and K2 (Menaquinone-7). This formula contains high doses for situations where more aggressive repletion is desired, as determined by a health care practitioner.

And it contains 5,000 IU of vitamin D per serving! 

I formulated it this way specifically to provide both Vitamin D and Vitamin K for optimal bone and arterial health, help maintain proper immune system function, and offer support for healthy prostate, colon, and breast tissue.

I can’t wait for you to try this out!