Vitamin D2 vs D3: Which is Better?

If you take supplements to maximize your daily nutrition, there’s something you need to know: not all the nutrition in your supplements are created equal. That means when you see “vitamin D” printed on a supplement label, it might not be the same form of vitamin D you’d find in a different product. Some nutrient forms are more potent than others, and some are more easily absorbed by your body. Different forms of the same vitamin can vary greatly in effectiveness.

That’s the case with vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Many supplements are made with vitamin D2, but studies have found that D3 is more effective at raising vitamin D levels in the body [1]. 

It’s important to know if you’re supplementing with D2 or D3. Vitamin D is present in very few foods, so supplementing is critical for many to reach their recommended daily intake. If you’re taking a less effective form, you might not be getting enough.  

Two forms of Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 and D3

The ingredient used to make vitamin D supplements is called, "calciferol." Calciferol comes in two different forms: ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol. Or, more simply, vitamins D2 and D3 respectively. 

Both vitamin D2 and D3 have been found to be effectively absorbed by the gut and safe for consumption. But recent studies have found that D3 is three to five times as potent as vitamin D2 [2]. That means you get a lot more nutrition when you supplement with D3.

It also means that vitamins that supplements containing the same amount of vitamin D2 and D3 may not be equally effective. The supplement made with vitamin D3 would result in a vitamin D concentration up to 5 times higher in your body.  

Which is Better: Vitamin D2 or D3? 

Vitamin D3 is said to be a better nutritional supplement than D2 due to its increased potency [3]. You get more vitamin D from every dose than you would by taking a vitamin D2 supplement. However, you may not need a more potent form of vitamin D.

Our bodies make vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight. So, if you get a lot of sun, you may not need to take vitamin D3 (or any vitamin D at all, for that matter). However, most of us are cooped up in offices all day or lack sun exposure for part of the year, especially in winter, and when we do venture out into the sun, we do so slathered in vitamin D-blocking sunscreen (which is always encouraged for your skins protection). If you’re one of these people, you may want to opt for the more potent vitamin D3.

How Do You Know if Vitamin D2 or D3 is in Your Supplement? 

Vitamin brands are required to list their ingredients on the supplemental facts on the back of the bottle. On this label, you’ll find a list of the nutrients inside. Find vitamin D, and just after that, you may see another word in parentheses. This is the form of the nutrient. If the word “ergocalciferol” is in parentheses, then your supplement contains vitamin D2. If “cholecalciferol” is on the label, your supplement contains vitamin D3

If there isn’t a word in parentheses, it means the brand has decided not to include the form of the nutrient. This isn’t usually a good sign, as it shows that the brand lacks transparency or isn’t knowledgeable enough about the science to know the difference. 

Other brands will tell you the exact form of the vitamin right in the product name, such as Manna Liposomal Vitamin D3 + K2.  

Manna Makes Vitamin D3 Easier to Absorb

Manna Liposomal Vitamin D3 + K2 contains extra-potent vitamin D3 paired with our liposomal delivery system for maximum bioavailability.* Studies have found that vitamin D absorption is further boosted by the presence of fat [4]. Our liposomal formula encases each nutrient in microscopic lipid bubbles to help your gut absorb the highest possible amount of D3 from every serving.*

Manna’s liposomal supplements also come in a liquid form, making them much easier to take than pills and powders. Learn more about the benefits of supplementing with vitamin D3, and switch to a more potent form of vitamin D here.



Thank you for asking, Ivan! Liposomal supplements are the best way to take your vitamins, and here at Manna we pride ourselves in using the best quality ingredients and the most rigorous production methods to ensure your health and safety. You can see all of our supplements and their current prices on our product page:

Manna September 10, 2021

What is the final cost of the vitamin you are prompting please compare with the best brand on the market.

Ivan C Powell September 10, 2021

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