Vitamin D2 or D3?

August 23, 2010 Dr Sadaty Bonita Springs Physician

It has been about 3 years now that Vitamin D level testing and supplementation has arrived to the scene. Surprisingly, it has caught on quite well. I pretty much know that the whole world is on to this when my father in law, an ex-Marine Vietnam Veteran who has seen the doctor maybe 4 times in his life asks me about Vitamin D.

So the question has evolved, and is not whether one should take Vitamin D, but which one, Vitamin D2 or D3? The quick answer is take either. Scientists have been debating this one back and forth, much like the old “taste great, less filling” commercials of years past. Nonetheless, what can be said with a good deal of certainty is that regardless of Vitamin D2 or D3, it should be taken with food, as the presence of fat allows for its absorption through the intestine.

That said, there is some difference between Vitamin D2 and D3 with regard to half-life, or the time that it remains active and circulating throughout your body before it is eliminated. Since D3 has a modestly longer half life, it is arguably better to take D3 instead of D2 if you are dosing it less often than once per week (as would be the case if taking it once or twice per month). Therefore, for those taking it daily, which usually ranges between 400 to 2500 units per day, either D2 or D3 is fine.

In the end, just buy it and take it. You have bigger concerns, like what you are going to watch on TV tonight or how you might need to rearrange the sock drawer.


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