Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available

Vitamin D2 Alternatives

(Ergocalciferol)

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Compare Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) to alternatives

These medications are comparable to Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) or used for similar purposes.

Vitamin D2
(Ergocalciferol)

Vitamin D3
(Cholecalciferol)

Raises Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) works for vitamin D deficiencies and is available over the counter, but your body doesn't absorb it as well as Vitamin D3.Raises Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) works well for vitamin D deficiencies and is available over the counter. It absorbs better than vitamin D2, but it's animal-based so vegetarians and vegans might not want to take it.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
61%
+61% vs. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol)
39%
+39% vs. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol)
7%
7% vs. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol)
Side effects
Vitamin D2Vitamin D3

We haven’t found good data for Vitamin D2 side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Vitamin D2 »

The Vitamin D3 FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Vitamin D3 side effects »
How it works
Vitamin D2Vitamin D3
Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) is a form of Vitamin D. It raises Vitamin D levels in your blood. This in turn raises calcium levels in your blood by helping you absorb more calcium from food in your intestine.Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) is a form of Vitamin D. It raises Vitamin D levels in your blood. This in turn raises calcium levels in your blood by helping you absorb more calcium from food in your intestine.
Type of medication
Vitamin D2Vitamin D3
Vitamin DPrescription or OTC
Vitamin DPrescription or OTC
Available as
Vitamin D2Vitamin D3
  • Pill
  • Liquid capsule
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
Vitamin D2Vitamin D3
    Risk factors for serious side effects
    Vitamin D2Vitamin D3
      Detailed Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) risks & warnings »
      Coming soon.
      Pregnancy category
      Vitamin D2Vitamin D3
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

      The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

      See the FDA package insert
      Alcohol
      No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
      Food
      No specific food-related info.
      • If you're using the drops, you can place it directly into the mouth, or mix with food, water or juice.
      Kidneys and liver
      • People on Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) who take more than the recommended dose can have high calcium in the blood, which can be dangerous in the kidneys. If you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, muscle or joint pain or a bad headache, talk to your doctor. Keep the amount of calcium you eat the same from day to day.
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      Sex
      No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
      Sleep
      No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      Vitamin D2Vitamin D3
      • Effective for vitamin D deficiencies.
      • This is the plant-based version of vitamin D, so it's useful for vegetarians.
      • Available in oral solution, tablet and capsules.
      • You can take this as a once a day or once a week medication.
      • Available in generic and over the counter.
      • Available in oral solution, tablet, and capsules.
      • You can take it as a once-a-day or once-a-week medication.
      • This version of vitamin D is better absorbed by the body than vitamin D2.
      • Available in generic and over the counter.
      Downsides and risks
      Vitamin D2Vitamin D3
      • Your body doesn't absorb Vitamin D2 as well as Vitamin D3.
      • This is an animal-based version of vitamin D, so vegetarians and vegans may not be comfortable with taking this supplement.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      Vitamin D2Vitamin D3
      • Don't take other forms of vitamin D unless told to by your doctor.
      • Some forms of this medication are taken only once a week, others are taken once a day. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you're not sure.
      • Call your doctor if you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, muscle or joint pain, headache or sleepiness.
      • Make sure to take at least 600 to 1200 mg of calcium per day.
      • Don't take other forms of vitamin D unless your doctor tells you to.
      • If you're using the drops, you can place it directly into the mouth, or mix with food, water or juice.
      • If you're using the spray, spray it under the tongue.
      • Make sure to take at least 600 to 1200 mg of calcium per day.
      • Call your doctor if you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, muscle or joint pain, headache or sleepiness.
      Learn more
      More about Vitamin D2Side effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about Vitamin D3Side effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert