Digest This

5 Important Differences Between Vitamin D vs D3

August 12, 2022 by Enzymedica Team
5 Important Differences Between Vitamin D vs D3

At a glance:

  • Vitamin D3 is essential for multiple health benefits, including immune health, strong bones and cardiovascular health.
  • Vitamin D3 works synergistically with Vitamin K2, meaning they are better together than individually.*
  • While most D3 and K2 supplements come from animal sources, ours is 100% plant-derived, vegetarian and both Kosher and Halal.
  • Our Made with Organic Vitamin D3 + K2 is sourced from sustainable, plant-derived and soy-free ingredients.*
  • It delivers 5,000 IU of VegD3® Vitamin D3 and 90 mcg of soy-free K2VITAL® Vitamin K2 MK-7.*


Vitamin D is an essential Vitamin, but what do you really know about it? As it turns out, there’s more to this Vitamin that you might know! First of all, Vitamin D comes in more than one form (D2 and D3 are most common). And, though it’s an essential nutrient (meaning your body cannot make it on its own), the sun somewhat gives your body a loophole. Plus, this fat-soluble Vitamin is an unsung hero when it comes to bone health, immune health and more.*

Keep reading to learn the most important differences between Vitamin D vs D3, which form is better (and why) – along with some helpful guidelines for choosing the right Vitamin D supplement.

Why is Vitamin D So Important for Health?

Four in 10 people worldwide are believed to fall short on their Vitamin D intake. That matters because Vitamin D is an essential nutrient. This happens for many reasons, but it can be due to location (getting adequate Vitamin D from short periods of sun exposure is harder the farther you are from the Equator) and simply not spending time outdoors.

(If you are not sure about your Vitamin D levels, talk to your health-care provider. Your serum levels of Vitamin D can be tested using a blood test.)

Vitamin D is responsible for many tasks in the body. It helps regulate the body’s calcium and phosphate levels, which helps keep muscles, bones and teeth strong and healthy. Vitamin D is also essential for maintaining healthy function of the immune system.*

Your body also needs Vitamin D to move your muscles and carry messages via your nerves between your brain and body.*

While you might think of calcium as the go-to nutrient for healthy bones, it gets plenty of help from Vitamins D and K (more on that essential nutrient later). That dynamic duo helps make sure that the calcium your body needs to maintain bones and teeth is used for its intended purpose – and not deposited elsewhere in the body, such as in soft tissues or the arteries.*

5 Differences Between Vitamin D vs D3

Though you commonly read about “Vitamin D,” there is more to the story. Get to know the differences between Vitamin D and the optimal form to look for in supplements, D3.* 

1. Vitamin D comes in more than one form.

Vitamin D is an umbrella term for different forms of this vitamin. The two most common forms of Vitamin D are D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is known as ergocalciferol, which is primarily found in plant-based sources and fortified foods like cereals, dairy and plant “milks.” Vitamin D3 is known as cholecalciferol, and this usually (but not always!) comes from animal-based foods.

2.  Vitamin D3 more effectively raises your body’s levels than D2.

Vitamins D2 and D3 work in different ways when it comes to increasing the amount of this fat-soluble Vitamin that is found in your body. While both forms of Vitamin D can be absorbed into the bloodstream, D3 appears to be more effectively metabolized by the liver, according to research. This process is essential for creating the main form of Vitamin D that circulates in your body, known as calcifediol. D3 is also the form of Vitamin D that your skin makes when exposed to sunlight. This is why many people choose Vitamin D3 supplements over D2 versions.

3. Many forms of Vitamin D3 come from animal sources.

In supplement form, most Vitamin D3 comes from lanolin or sheep’s wool. That left people who didn’t want to consume animal-derived products without a D3 supplement option. However, times have changed and now there are vegan and plant-based sources of Vitamin D3. Since people who avoid animal products in their diet may also struggle to consume adequate amounts through food, this scientific advancement was helpful.  

4. Vitamin D3 is now available in a sustainable form.

We know that you care about the environmental impact of the ingredients you choose to put in your body. That’s why we chose to use Vitamin D3 derived from 100% plant-derived, non-GMO and sustainable algae.* It is also organic, which benefits the purity – and it does not contain harsh chemicals used in conventional growing and harvesting methods.

5. D3 + K2 work better together (think: synergy).

Just as Vitamin D has more than one form, so does vitamin K. K2 is the preferred form. D3 and K2 work together to help ensure proper absorption of calcium into the bones.* In turn, by taking vitamins D3 and K2 together, they promote bone strength.*  We include 5,000 IU of VegD3® Vitamin D3 and 90 mcg of soy-free K2VITAL® Vitamin K2 MK-7.*

Top Foods for Vitamin D

Curious about whether your diet provides some of your daily Vitamin D needs? These are the top foods for Vitamin D. As you see, if you tend to eat a plant-based or low-fat diet, it can be a challenge to include vitamin D foods.

  • Cod liver oil
  • Salmon, swordfish, trout and tuna
  • Orange juice fortified with Vitamin D
  • Dairy and plant-based milks fortified with Vitamin D
  • Sardines and other small fatty fish like mackerel
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Cheese
  • Chicken breast

Did you know? Most of the Vitamin D in the average American diet comes from fortified foods. Almost all of the milk supply in the US is fortified with Vitamin D (usually in the form of D3). You can check the nutrition facts label on foods to see if it contains Vitamin D.

The amount of Vitamin D that people need each day remains the same from age 1 to age 70, even during pregnancy and lactation. However, the amount does go up for men and for women at age 70, due to the connection to bone health.

How many of these foods that deliver Vitamin D do you eat on a regular basis?

Why Take Vitamin D in Supplement Form?

Essential nutrients must be consumed in food or supplement form. With 40% of people falling short on their Vitamin D needs, supplements help fill in the gaps. Since most of the food sources of Vitamin D are higher-fat animal-based foods, a supplement can feel like an easier way to achieve nutritional goals.

People are busy these days – and who has time to prepare and cook meals from scratch three times a day? Convenience foods save time, but they don’t always deliver the nutrition we need.   

Why Are Vitamins D3 and K2 Taken Together?

In your body, everything is connected. That includes Vitamins D and K. This pair of nutrients work better together, like two peas in a pod.

As a reminder, Vitamin D helps regulate the body’s calcium and phosphate levels. This helps you’re your muscles, bones and teeth strong and healthy.* Vitamin D also plays a role in immune health.* When paired with Vitamin K, the two nutrients help the body use calcium properly, which supports cardiovascular and bone health.* Vitamin K is necessary for making certain proteins for blood clotting and bone building.* Of course, the right forms matter here – and D3 and K2 are preferred.  

By taking Vitamins D3 and K2 together, this helps promote bone strength by supporting proper absorption of calcium.* This synergy is why we include 5,000 IU of VegD3® Vitamin D3 and 90 mcg of soy-free K2VITAL® Vitamin K2 MK-7.* Synergy means that something is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

How to Choose the Best Vitamin D3 + K2 Supplement

Enzymedica’s Vitamin D3 + K2 formula includes organic Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, organic shiitake mushrooms and organic inulin. This unique combination of ingredients delivers three benefits in one single formula!* Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is essential for multiple health benefits, including strong bones and strong immune and cardiovascular systems.* Enzymedica’s Organic D3 supplement uses the preferred form of Vitamin D. Our D3 is both algae-derived and organic.

Enzymedica’s Made with Organic D3 + K2 formula provides 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 and 90 mcg of Vitamin K2 to support immune and bone health.* When combined with Vitamin D3, this soy-free K2, K2VITAL® supports the proper transportation and absorption of calcium into the bones.* Like Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2 is an essential Vitamin, meaning the body cannot make it, so it must be obtained through diet or supplements. Supplementing with D3 alone is not enough. Combining both essential Vitamins means that the Vitamin D3 can help ensure that calcium gets properly absorbed into the bones.*

What to Know about Algae-Derived Organic D3

The D3 found in Enzymedica’s Organic D3 + Vitamin K2 comes from sustainably sourced and organic algae – not lanolin like some other D3 supplements. The benefit of using organic D3 is that it is purer and does not contain harsh chemicals that are used in conventional harvesting methods.

Why choose algae and not lichens? Compared with lichen-based vegan sources of D3, this patented form from algae is 100% pure D3 (it contains no D2). It is a 1:1 direct replacement for lanolin-based cholecalciferol and offers superior stability over lichen D3. VegD3® is 100% sustainable and fully traceable, as it is grown in a controlled environment in Europe. (Lichen must be removed from an existing ecosystem, which can have a negative impact and carries a risk for contamination.) And VegD3® has no noticeable taste or color.

What to Know about Soy-Free K2VITAL®

In addition to 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 (625% DV), Enzymedica’s new formula contains 90 mcg of soy-free K2 for immune and bone support.*  When combined, the two fat-soluble essential Vitamins support the proper transportation and absorption of calcium into the bones.* Enzymedica uses a superior MK-7 form of K2 called K2VITAL®, which has been proven to deliver the highest bioavailability.* This potent form of K2 is derived from plants.* (Bioavailability means that your body can actually put an ingredient to use once you consume it.)

K2VITAL® is the Menaquinone 7 version of Vitamin K2 and is understood to have a high bioavailability. Kappa Bioscience created K2VITAL®, and their pursuit of excellence required the development of many of the MK-7 testing methods used today. K2VITAL® is a stable, form of Vitamin K. Vitamin K2 is often found in fermented foods, which the US diet has been lacking over the past 100 years. With commercialization and the increase in processed foods, Vitamin K2 deficiency has been on the rise.

Enzymedica’s Made with Organic D3 + K2 supplement also includes 150 mg of organic shiitake mushroom powder, which delivers additional immune support.* Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are known to enhance the immune system, blood circulation and health of the skin.* The Shiitake mushrooms we use come from North America, and they are also organic.

Our Made with Organic D3 + K2 is a non-GMO solution to your daily Vitamin D3 and K2 requirements and includes an extra boost for the microbiome.*

How to Take D3 + K2

The recommended usage for Enzymedica’s Made with Organic D3 + K2 supplement is to take 1 capsule daily with food. It is intended only for adults, who should consult with a physician prior to use if they are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition. Warning: If taking a blood-thinning medication (also called an anticoagulant), consult with a health-care professional before using.

This D3 + K2 formula contains no gluten, milk, casein, soy, egg, artificial colors or artificial flavors.

Why Choose Enzymedica

Here at Enzymedica, the leading brand of digestive enzyme supplements in America, we offer exceptional solutions for natural health and wellness. Every one of our products is uniquely formulated to be as effective as possible.

Our formulas are always developed using the same high standards regardless of someone’s particular needs or health goals. And we consistently use the best ingredients available on the planet, each one accompanied by cutting-edge scientific research. Our portfolio of products continues to grow and expand to keep pace with what our customers need and want. We aim to serve new and long-term consumers, for your current and future digestive and overall health needs.*

Enzymedica is first and foremost a global leader in the field of enzymes. We are the most knowledgeable when it comes to enzymes because of our ground-breaking, independent research on enzymes and other natural components. We seek out the highest-quality ingredients at all times and never use artificial fillers or excipients. That's part of Enzymedica's commitment to quality and efficacy. We apply that same approach and breadth of knowledge to our other supplements as well.

Conclusion: Choose D3 and K2  

The term “Vitamin D” does not tell the whole story when it comes to supplements. Vitamin D3 is the optimal form that your body can put to use. And D3 does not like to work alone. It prefers to be paired up with its friend K2. The result is a combination that can help support bone health – and you’ll also get all the other benefits of Vitamin D and Vitamin K, from immune support to healthy blood clotting.*