Vitamin d2 vs d3

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




About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website,, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.

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