Vitamin D2 or D3, which is the best supplement

18 November 2015  |  Editor

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Vitamin D - which one?

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Vitamin D is available for supplementation in two forms: vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, produced from lanolin in sheep’s wool, and vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, produced from the mold ergot9. Many practitioners prefer D3 due to a general view that the form closest to what we obtain from nature will be the better; others prefer D2 as it can be produced without involving any animals.

D2 decomposes more quickly than D3, but they both have a good shelf life if stored at room temperature protected from air, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Storage in oil can also increase the shelf life of both forms, so it is not surprising that cod liver oil has traditionally been a good source of vitamin D3. In fact a teaspoon of cod liver oil can provide 450iu of vitamin D11, but it may be difficult to find a good quality, cold pressed, pure cod liver oil to supplement with.

The orthodox view is that both forms of the vitamin are equally well absorbed, and research would seem to endorse this. Although D3 is gaining a reputation as the “better” form, vitamin D2 has been used successfully for years to address conditions such as rickets and osteomalacia, so in terms of absorption and bone support, it seems to be a matter of personal preference rather than one being better than the other.

There is, however, evidence to suggest that the body may not convert D2 as effectively as it does D3 to the final form of vitamin D that is now recognised as a potent hormone.

We have a number of articles about different aspects of Vitamin D and the vital roll it plays. Click of any link below to look at that subject or, below the links, click to bring up a printable PDF document covering all of the subjects by the excellent Nutrigold company, which also incorporates references.