Q. I have heard that a person who is allergic to wool should take vitamin D2 instead of D3. Is this true?


A. Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD, lab director of the Bone Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, answers: “While some people allergic to wool have reported an allergic reaction to vitamin D3 supplements (particularly at high doses), there is very little scientific data to support or refute this claim. According to ConsumerLab.com, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements are derived from either fish oil or lanolin (a natural waxy substance that helps sheep shed water from their wooly coats). If your doctor has recommended vitamin D supplements and you are concerned about taking a lanolin-derived product, look for fish-oil derived D3. Another option is to take vitamin D2, which may not be quite as effective as D3 at raising blood levels but is a good choice none-the-less. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so be sure to take it with a meal or snack that includes some healthy fat.

“Our bodies produce Vitamin D when rays from the sun strike the skin. Sun screen and clothing interfere with this process but are important for preventing skin cancer. Americans get most of their dietary vitamin D from fortified foods, particularly milk, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, orange juice, and yogurt, and from natural sources like fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon). Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolk also naturally contain some vitamin D (mostly D3), and some mushrooms provide D2.”


  1. I’m one of those people allergic to wool, lanolin, lamb & mutton and am now taking a vegan form of vitamin D3. Wow!! What a difference in my body!! I have more energy, my digestion is similar to what it was like when I was a child, and I’ve lost weight without changing anything else!! Looking for the source of vitamin D fortified foods so I can avoid what I’m allergic to.

    • Hi Janet, I just discovered this is the reason I never recovered from allergic reaction dr recently diagnose Im allergic to lanolin and just realized has been my daily of 10000 IU on vitamins D3. Can you please recommend your vegan form vitamin D3? Thank you

      • I just recently discovered the D3 lanolin connection and want to switch. I haven’t tried it yet – but MaryRuth’s supplements have been working very well for me and all her D3 is vegan sourced from lichen and natto (a Japanese bean paste). Everything I’ve tried from her line has been excellent and are formulated to be highly bioavailable which is fantastic for people like me who have problems with digestion. Hope this helps!

  2. I was wondering if lanolin in Rice Krispies is the same as the lanolin in Vitamin D 3 Supplements? If I’m not allergic to the lanolin in Rice Krispies would that mean I’m not allergic to the lanolin in the Vitamin D3 Supplements? I’ve been eating Rice Krispies for years. Thank You. John

    • I’m wondering the exact same thing! Almost all Kellogg and Post cereal have Vitamin D3 (derived from sheep’s wool). I’m Vitamin D deficient and have a lot of medicine paranoia so I’m trying to have the comfort of knowing I’ve ingested Lanolin all these years from cereals so I can take my vitamin supplements without the paranoia.

      • Tiffany,

        I too am afraid of taking medications. I still haven’t been able to take the Vitamin d3 due to lanolin. I was supposed to start the Vitamin d3 four months ago. I’ve contacted many people and companies. Two of the most interesting answers that I got were that there is no lanolin in the supplement after the process it goes through. I got that from two different people. Can anyone confirm this? I hope you reply soon. Thanks. John

  3. I am allergic to wool, sheep, lanolin, and seafood. I have taken at my doctor’s direction Vitamin D3 in increasing doses over time. I started with 1/2 of a 25 mcg tablet for three weeks, increased 25 mcgs at three week intervals thereafter. By the time if got to 100 mcg tablets my throat starting getting itchy and scratch after taking the tablets and feeling a little difficult to swallow. I stopped taking them altogether. I have been eating Rice Krispies as a cereal for decades as Rick Krispie Bars as a snack since the came on the market. I’ve never had a reaction to any of those items. I can’t explain it. I am just sharing my experience and my frustration.

  4. During a routine check up the doctor saud i needed more vit D3. I was getting sick from it and changed brands and still got sick. Looking into vitamin D ‘s i found what they were made from. I asked tge doctor if he knew that it some were made from sheep wool and that that was causing my inability to take it. He had no knowledge of lanolin was used. Why i make my pharmacist my best friend.

  5. Judi,

    I’m guessing that you are affected by something at higher levels. The Rice Krispies have a small amount of lanolin in them. Maybe that’s why you weren’t affected. I’m frustrated too. I can’t get the right answers. It’s hard to figure these things out by yourself. Good Luck. John

  6. It’s really sad and frustrating that Nutrionist can’t answer any questions or come up with solutions for those who are allergic such as me. I tried lichen, had a reaction. I’m allergic to certain veggies so that leaves out vegan one! Thanks for all comments!


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