Background: The relative potency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D-3 to vitamin D-3 needs to be better defined so that food-composition tables can better reflect the true vitamin D nutritive value of certain foods.Objective: We performed a randomized, controlled intervention study in apparently healthy, free-living adults to investigate whether the intake of 25-hydroxyvitamin D-3 is 5 times more potent in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] during winter compared with an equivalent amount of vitamin D-3.Design: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind intervention study was conducted in adults aged >= 50 y (n = 56) who consumed a placebo, 20 mu g vitamin D-3, or 7 or 20 mu g 25-hydroxy-vitamin D-3 daily throughout 10 wk of winter. Serum 25(OH)D was measured by using an enzyme-linked immunoassay, and serum albumin corrected calcium (S-Ca) was assessed colorimetrically at the baseline, midpoint, and endpoint of the study.Results: The mean (+/-SD) increases (per microgram of vitamin D compound) in serum 25(OH)D concentrations over baseline after 10 wk of supplementation were 0.96 +/- 0.62, 4.02 +/- 1.27, and 4.77 +/- 1.04 nmol.L-1 intake the 20-mu g vitamin D-3/d and 7- and 20-mu g 25-hydroxyvitamin D-3/d groups, respectively. A comparison of the 7- and 20-mu g 25-hydroxyvitamin D-3/d groups with the 20-mu g vitamin D-3/d group yielded conversion factors of 4.2 and 5, respectively. There was no effect of treatment on S-Ca concentrations and no incidence of hypercalcemia (S-Ca >2.6 nmol/L).Conclusions: Each microgram of orally consumed 25-hydroxyvitamin D-3 was about 5 times more effective in raising serum 25(OH)D in older adults in winter than an equivalent amount of vitamin D-3. This conversion factor could be used in food-compositional tables for relevant foods. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01398202. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:1350-6.