What Is Vitamin D3?

Vitabiotics | Published: 15/03/2021

What Is Vitamin D3?

It’s time to get clued up on vitamin D3

You might already know how important vitamin D is, however, what is less discussed are the various types of vitamin D.

This fat-soluble vitamin comes in two main forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is otherwise known as ergocalciferol and vitamin D3 is also known as cholecalciferol

Whilst both are necessary, it is vitamin D3 that carries the health hero crown as our bodies use and absorb this type far more effectively than vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is made when our skin is exposed to sunlight.

But Why Do We Need Vitamin D?

There are lots of reasons we need vitamin D. Vitamin D helps with the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus, to maintain the health of our bones, muscles and teeth and supports the normal function of the immune system. Vitamin D also contributes to normal blood calcium levels.

Where Does Vitamin D Come From?

It is tricky to get your daily recommendation of vitamin D through diet alone, which is why it is often dubbed the ‘sunshine vitamin’; we get most if not all of our vitamin D3 from sunlight.

In the UK though, there is not enough sunlight throughout the autumn and winter months, so the UK Department of Health and Social encourages us to consider taking a daily supplement. More recently, with people spending so much more time indoors, this advice has been extended to all the year round.

It is possible to get some vitamin D through food, but the list of foods that offer it is far from substantial. In the UK, an average diet provides 3-4µg of vitamin D per day and only a little more if oily fish is consumed.

If you do want to improve your vitamin D status through diet, there are some foods rich in vitamin D which can help. These include:

  •           Oily fish and fish oil
  •           Liver
  •           Egg yolk

The Difference Between Vitamin D2 And Vitamin D3

In simple terms, vitamin D3 comes primarily from animal sources and vitamin D2 comes from plants and fungi. Vitamin D3 is the preferred form of vitamin D as it is actually made in the human body when we’re exposed to sunlight.


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How Much Vitamin D Do I Need Per Day?

In the summer, sunnier months we can obtain vitamin D from the sun. This is achievable by spending time outside however, between October and March, the UK Department of Health and Social Care advises everyone from 5 years and above to consider taking a supplement containing 10μg of vitamin D everyday due to lower levels of sunlight. This also includes pregnant and lactating women.

The Department of Health and Social Care advise that children up to four years old should also be given a daily supplement containing 10µg of vitamin D and babies who are breastfed up to one year old should be given a supplement containing 8.5 to 10µg vitamin D. If a baby is given formula, a supplement should only be given if they are receiving less than 500ml of formula a day.

This is because formulas are already fortified with vitamin D.

To ensure your baby is getting vitamin D, try Wellbaby Vitamin D Drops which provide 10µg of vitamin D3, the level of vitamin D for infants and young children, as recommended by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

Vitamin D3 For Vegetarians And Vegans

As vitamin D3 comes primarily from animal sources, you may wonder how vegetarians, vegans or those who do not eat animal products, are supposed to hit their vitamin D3 quota.

This is where supplements are useful and Vitabiotics offer various vitamin D supplements of different strengths, and in vegetarian or even vegan forms too.

Plant based foods such as mushrooms, suitable for vegans, do not offer the preferred form of vitamin D3. And, fortified foods are often fortified with vitamin D2, as it is cheaper to produce. Fortified foods can include cereals, bread, plant milks and even orange juice.

Whilst you do still need vitamin D2, vitamin D3 is the type we really should be looking out for.

Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D range is vegetarian friendly and provides varying levels of vitamin D3. Ultra Vitamin D gummies provide a great option for those following a vegan diet, providing a vegan source of vitamin D3 in a delicious chewable gummy.

Vitamin D3 Supplements

When choosing a vitamin D supplement, it is essential to find one that provides vitamin D3. Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D 1000IU, provides 25μg of vitamin D3, plus it is British Pharmacopoeia quality vitamin D3.

Be sure to follow supplement guidelines and only take the recommended dose; it is advised that adults do not take more than 100μg of vitamin D each day.

Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D 3000IU (75µg) offers a higher level of vitamin D, but still below the max recommended dose of 100μg.

For vegans, and those who don’t like taking tablets, the Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D Gummies provide 25μg of vitamin D3 per gummy, whilst Wellkid Peppa Pig Vitamin D gummies help safeguard a child’s diet, with each vegan gummy providing 10µg of vitamin D3. These are suitable for children aged three to seven years, and come in a delicious strawberry flavour.

Older children aged seven to 14 years old can benefit from Vitabiotics Wellkid Marvel Vitamin D gummies which provide 12.5µg of vitamin D3. These strawberry flavour soft jellies are also suitable for vegans.

Meet the Author

lucy gornall

lucy gornall


lucy gornall


Lucy is an award winning freelance health, fitness and wellbeing journalist and copywriter. She is also a personal trainer, teaching at London based studios. With 10 years of journalistic experience under her belt, Lucy was formerly a health editor across various women’s magazines and also editor for a national women’s glossy title. She now writes for various publications whilst also working on various branded content

Alexandra Phillips

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