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Vitamin D2 or Vitamin D3: Which One is Better?

When it comes to vitamin D, the choice between D2 and D3 can be puzzling. Research has been unclear on whether there’s a distinct difference in how these two types of vitamin D impact our health. This article aims to shed light on this matter by summarizing a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared the effects of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations in humans.

The study, which spanned from January 1966 to July 2011, delved into adult populations and sought to clarify the vitamin D2 vs. D3 debate. The results were enlightening.

The meta-analysis of RCTs pointed out a significant difference between the two. Vitamin D3 supplementation had a noticeably more positive impact on raising serum 25(OH)D concentrations compared to vitamin D2. In essence, vitamin D3 seems to be the better choice when it comes to improving vitamin D levels in our bodies.

Furthermore, when the frequency of dosage administration was considered, a bolus dose of vitamin D3 was found to be significantly more effective than vitamin D2. However, this advantage vanished when vitamin D3 was administered daily. It suggests that consistency might be key when choosing the dosing regimen for vitamin D3.

If you’re deciding between vitamin D2 and D3, the evidence tips the scale in favour of vitamin D3. It appears to be more efficacious at increasing serum 25(OH)D concentrations. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that further research is needed to explore the intricate metabolic pathways of these vitamins and their effects across different age groups, genders, and ethnicities. While this review provides valuable insights, more investigation is essential to fully understand the nuances of vitamin D supplementation.

Please, speak to your GP if you have any health concerns.


Tripkovic L, Lambert H, Hart K, Smith CP, Bucca G, Penson S, Chope G, Hyppönen E, Berry J, Vieth R, Lanham-New S. Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;95(6):1357-64. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.031070. Epub 2012 May 2. PMID: 22552031; PMCID: PMC3349454.

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