Vitamin d2 vs d3

by | Sep 18, 2012 | Nutrition & Diet | 0 comments

It’s no longer news:  Vitamin D plays a huge role in health.

Unfortunately, it’s still true that many adults (up to 60% in the US) are vitamin D deficient.

Because most of us don’t spend the day soaking up the sun’s rays, you may be one of the millions who have chosen to take a vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin D2 Vs D3

There are two forms of vitamin D available as a supplement – ergocalciferol (D2) and cholecalciferol (D3).

Prescription versions of vitamin D, as well as many supplements, include the D2 form, which is derived from mushrooms.  D3, which is found in higher-quality supplements, is most frequently derived from an oil extracted from wool.

Your body can metabolize either D2 or D3 to create calcidiol (or 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the form of the vitamin that is measured in the blood), and calcitriol (the biologically active form).

Is it better to take one version of vitamin D instead of another?

The scientific answer to this question has yet to be finalized.

Here are three important reasons why some clinicians insist that their patients only use D3:

  1. The D3 form of the vitamin is closer to the natural type formed in your skin when you’re exposed to sunlight.
  2. It’s a shorter, easier metabolic pathway for your body to convert D3 into a useable form.
  3. Some research shows that your blood stream gets a better D boost if you take D3 supplements.

On the other hand, proponents of using the less-expensive D2 have some evidence in their favor too.

  1. The two forms can be converted into each other in the body.
  2. Competing research studies show that the measurable benefits of D2 and D3 are about the same.

What I recommend to my patients

  • If you’re already taking a vitamin d supplement and you’re satisfied with the results, don’t change.
  • If you feel that you could benefit from vitamin D supplementation, I recommend a liquid suspension of vitamin D3.  The product I suggest gives you 2,000 IU in only one drop under the tongue.  It’s believed that absorption under the tongue is more efficient than absorption through the stomach.

I feel it’s unethical to recommend specific dietary supplements over the internet to people who I’ve never met.  But if you need more information, or a link to a high quality supplement that I recommend to my patients, please e-mail me at


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

D3 is better than D2: Article 1  

No it isn’t, they’re about the same: Article 1   Article 2

Vitamin D for Pain




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