In food databases, the specific contents of vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in food have been implemented in the last 10 years. No consensus has yet been established on the relative activity between the components. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to assess the relative activity of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 compared to vitamin D3. The design was a parallel study in pigs (n 24), which from an age of 12 weeks until slaughter 11 weeks later were fed approximately 55 μg vitamin D/d, as vitamin D3, in a mixture of vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, or 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. The end-points measured were plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, and in the liver and loin the content of vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. Vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the feed did not affect 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the plasma, liver or loin differently, while a significant effect was shown on vitamin D3 in the liver and loin (P < 0·001). 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 in the plasma, liver and loin significantly correlates with the sum of vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the feed (P < 0·05). Therefore, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 should be regarded as having the same activity as vitamin D3 in food databases. Sole use of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 as a vitamin D source in pig feed will produce liver and meat with a negligible content of vitamin D3, while an increased content of vitamin D3 in the feed will produce liver and meat with increased content of both vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3.