What Is Vitamin D2 & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Vitamin D2 (src)

Vitamin D2 is one of two forms of Vitamin D.

The other is vitamin D3.

Vitamin D2 is mainly obtained from plant sources and fortified foods.

Among the plant sources, it’s mainly wild mushrooms that are a naturally rich source of vitamin D2.

Vitamin D2 is the main form of vitamin D for vegans and groups of people who want to avoid animal products.

Vitamin D2 is less effective than D3 but can still improve your vitamin D status.

Table of Contents

Vitamin D Is Important

There are two forms of vitamin D, vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. (source )

Vitamin D is the name of a group of fat-soluble, water-soluble vitamins that help the body absorb calcium, and is essential for bone health.

They are essential for the production of enzymes, hormones, and immunocompetent cells.

Vitamin D2 Is An Important Nutrient

Vitamin D2 is a fat-soluble vitamin with many health benefits.

Vitamin D2 is obtained from the UV irradiation of the yeast sterol ergosterol, found naturally in mushrooms that have been exposed to the sun. (source )

Vitamin D2 is also found in plant sources and fortified foods. (source )

Vitamin D2 Is Less Effective

Since vitamin D2 is cheaper to produce than D3, it’s the most common form in fortified foods. (source )

Daily supplementation of vitamin D2 is less effective than D3 in maintaining vitamin status over the winter months in healthy adults living in the northern parts of the world. (source )

One reason for this is that vitamin D3 is more efficient at absorbing, so you need less of it to have the same effect, but it's also more expensive.

Vitamin D2 is converted to D3 in the liver, but the conversion of D2 to D3 in the liver is very inefficient, so you need to take much more D2 to have the same effect as D3.

You Need To Get Enough Vitamin D

Getting enough vitamin D is needed to keep your body healthy and functioning.

Vitamin D helps with strong bones and may help prevent some cancers.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.

There is evidence that vitamin D may protect against rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, but it is still unclear whether or not vitamin D supplements are useful in treating these diseases.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

Foods You Can Find Vitamin D2 In

You find Vitamin D2 mostly in vegetable, legume, dairy and egg, and beverage products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Vitamin D2, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top ranked list of foods that contain Vitamin D2.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.