What Is Vitamin D3 & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Vitamin D3 How To Get It (src)

Vitamin D3 is one of two forms of Vitamin D.

The other is vitamin D2.

We can get Vitamin D3 from animal sources or make it ourselves with the help of sunlight.

Vitamin D3 is not a vitamin, despite its name. It is a hormone that is synthesized by sunlight.

Our skin can synthesize vitamin D3 when exposed to sunlight. It is the primary source of vitamin D in most countries.

But vitamin D deficiency is a large health problem. Supplementation may be vital for some populations.

Supplementation with vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2, according to research.

Vitamin D3 is available in supplements and fortified foods and is also present in fish, milk, and eggs. However, it is not commonly added to processed foods.

Table of Contents

Vitamin D3 Is Very Important

Vitamin D3 is a secosteroid and a fat-soluble vitamin with many health benefits.

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

Vitamin D3 plays a major role in calcium and phosphorus homeostasis. It is also a regulator of bone metabolism.

Vitamin D receptors are present in most tissues and cells in the body. (source )

Vitamin D3 Is A Hormone

Because it is a hormone, vitamin D3 plays an important role in the growth and development of bones and teeth.

It is necessary for the production of a healthy immune system and is also essential for maintaining the integrity of the skin.

Vitamin D3 is also used as a medication in the treatment of vitamin D deficiency and rickets in children.

It is also used to treat and prevent osteoporosis.

You can find more health benefits from vitamin D3 in Vitamin D3: 12 Research-Backed Benefits .

Get Vitamin D3 From The Sun

A unique aspect of vitamin D3 is that it can be synthesized by our body through sunlight exposure. (source )

The major source of vitamin D for children and adults is exposure to natural sunlight. (source )

Wearing a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 reduces vitamin D3 synthesis in the skin by more than 95%. (source )

People with a naturally dark skin tone have natural sun protection.

They require at least three to five times longer exposure to make the same amount of vitamin D3 as a person with a light skin tone. (source )

In foods, vitamin D3 is only found in animal-sourced foods. (source )

Vitamin D3 Vs D2

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

Vitamin D3 appears to be better than D2 at improving the overall vitamin D status. (source )

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is a global public health issue.

Vitamin D deficiency is also called hypovitaminosis D. It occurs when your vitamin D levels are below normal.

A deficiency of vitamin D may not produce any symptoms, or symptoms may take several years to appear.

Many studies are showing an association between vitamin D deficiency and cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and depression.

Foods You Can Find Vitamin D3 In

You find Vitamin D3 mostly in seafood, fats and oils, dairy and egg 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 D3, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Vitamin D3 .

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

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.