Difference Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is available in few foods.  Vitamin D can b acquired from the sun and food supplements.

They regulate calcium and maintain the phosphorous level in the blood. They also help the body against a range of diseases like type 1 diabetes.

Vitamin D from sunshine helps improve the mood. It also helps improve depression symptoms.

Apart from this, Vitamin D also helps in maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

Vitamin D3 is one of the forms of Vitamin D. It is a dietary supplement in people who do not get enough Vitamin D.

They are animal-based supplements. They also help the body absorb calcium and phosphorus.

Vitamin D vs Vitamin D3

The main difference between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 is that Vitamin D comes from plant sources. Vitamin D3, on the other hand, comes from animal-based sources.

Vitamin D vs Vitamin D3


Comparison Table Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonVitamin DVitamin D3
The brand nameDrisdol, Calcidol, CalciferolDecara, Dialyvite D3 Max
Drug classVitamin D AnalogVitamin D Analog
Brand/generic statusBrand and generic availableBrand and generic available
Generic nameErgocalciferol or Vitamin D2Cholecalciferol, Vitamin D, or Vitamin D3.
Standard dosage1,000 IU to 2,000 IU daily for vitamin D supplementation1,000 IU to 2,000 IU daily for vitamin D supplementation.
Form in which the drug comes inOral tablets and capsule, oral liquid solution.Oral tablets and capsule, oral liquid solution, sublingual liquid solution
Who uses the medicationInfants, children, adolescents, and adultsInfants, children, adolescents, and adults.
How long is the typical treatmentIndefiniteIndefinite


What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids.  It helps to increase the intestinal absorption of magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and multiple other biological effects.

Vitamin D is naturally available in very few foods. But the best sources are the fish liver oils and fleshy of fatty fish like salmon and tuna.

A small amount of Vitamin D is found in cheese, liver, and egg yolks. A human body also produces Vitamin D when exposed to the sun

Vitamin D is the primary source of Vitamin D3. They are necessary for several reasons for the body.

They help in regulating calcium and maintain phosphorus level in blood. The two are essential in keeping healthy bones.

Vitamin D also helps in supporting the immune, brain, and nervous system. Support cardiovascular health and lung function.

It also impacts the circulation of genes involved in cancer development.

vitamin d

What is Vitamin D3?

Cholecalciferol or Vitamin D3 is one of the Vitamin D forms. Vitamin D3 needs to be changed by the liver then by the kidney into the main form of Vitamin D.

After the conversion, it then circulates the body.

Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means the body absorbs it with fats in your diet.

D3 is more effective as it raises the level of active Vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 can be acquired by spending tie in the sunshine. Eating certain foods and taking supplements is another way you can get Vitamin D3.

It has a positive impact o the mood. Some people when exposed to the sun they feel happy because of the synthesis of Vitamin.

It also aids in the progression of prostate tumors. This helps to suppress the development of polyps that could lead to colon cancer.

vitamin d3

Main Differences Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3


The major source of Vitamin D is planting like wild mushrooms. Fortified foods like cereal products and milk are also a good source of Vitamin D.

It is less expensive to produce.

This is why it is a common vitamin found in fortified foods. Vitamin D3 comes from animal sources.

Egg yolks, liver, fatty fish, and fish oil are the major sources of D3.

Conditions treated

Vitamin D is used to treat decreased thyroid hormone secretion (hypoparathyroidism). It also treats Vitamin D resistant rickets and low levels of phosphorus in the blood (hypophosphatemia).

It is used for Vitamin D insufficiency in both recommendation and over-the-counter actions. Vitamin D3 is not licensed by the FDA to make any treatments.

All Vitamin D3 is available over-the-counter.

D3 is in most cases used to prevent osteoporosis. It is also used to treat vitamin D deficiency and decreased thyroid hormone secretion.

Coverage and Cost

Most Vitamin D prescription is covered by commercial and Medicare insurance plans. Over-the-counter formulations are not covered by commercial or Medicare insurance plans.

Vitamin D3 is over-the-counter thus it’s not covered by the insurance plan. The price varies depending on the dosage.

Side effects

Side effects associated with Vitamin D are as a result of hypervitaminosis D. This is a rare condition as a result of too much intake of Vitamin D.

It’s evident in patients taking a megadose of Vitamin D which leads to Vitamin D poison.

This leads to the accumulation of calcium in the blood. The patient will then have nausea, frequent urination, and constipation.

There are no side effects with Vitamin D3.

Difference Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3



Vitamin D is found in plants like a mushroom, some plants, and yeast, Vitamin D3 is found in some animal products.

Although Vitamin D3 is an over-the-counter option, you should get guidance from an expert on how to use it. Testing the blood can help distinguish if you are deficient and need a higher concentration.

Excess intake of Vitamin D can lead to over calcification of bones. It can also cause the hardening of blood vessels, kidney, lung, and heart tissues. 

Above all, Vitamin D and D3 both benefit the body in the same way.

Key Differences Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3



  1. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-nutr-071812-161203
  2. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/cdt/2002/00000003/00000001/art00006
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/552931
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Kel Fruibe
Kel Fruibe

what I can recall after reading this page is that Vitamin D3 is a subset of Vitamin D. That’s the key difference?

Piyush Yadav
Piyush Yadav
Reply to  Kel Fruibe

Apart from that, do add these differences as key differences:

1) Vitamin D comes from plant sources and Vitamin D3 comes from animal sources
2) Vitamin D3 helps increase the level of active Vitamin D in the body.


Are both Vitamin D and D3 essential for our body?

Piyush Yadav
Piyush Yadav
Reply to  Bharat

yes dear,
both are very much essential for us. Even kids are given suppliments for Vitamin D3 because their diet does not include all kind of food items.