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Last modified on December 11th, 2020
The Top 6 Vitamin D Supplements
Keeping your bones healthy and strong is important. We have researched which Vitamin D products are the best options. Because of a study showing that Vitamin D doses 4000 IU and higher did not help most people, and data showing that high Vitamin D blood levels can be harmful, we have selected lower doses. Our selections are the top 6 Vitamin D products, with a link to find them on Amazon.
Why we love it: Nature Made Vitamin D Softgels come as 1000 IU liquid-filled capsules. The product’s dosing is one capsule daily to be taken with water and a meal. Nature Made Vitamin D Softgels have the distinction of being USP verified, which is noted on the package label. This means that it has met the voluntary quality standards set by The United States Pharmacopeial Convention for over the counter supplements. Although the product itself is made in the United States, it should be noted that the ingredients are sourced globally. Besides Vitamin D, the product contains soybean oil, gelatin, glycerin and water.
The product has no color added, no artificial flavors, no preservatives, and no wheat, starch or gluten. However, because it contains soybeans, you may want to avoid it if you have an allergy to soy. Further, it may not be appropriate for vegetarians as it is not labeled vegetarian, meaning both the Vitamin D and gelatin may be from animal sources.
Amazon users generally really like this product, which is a highly rated Vitamin D supplement on the site. They especially like that the capsules are small and easy to swallow. Because the capsules are softgels, they should not be broken, chewed or crushed. For those who prefer tablets, the product is also available in a tablet formulation.
Why we love it: At the time of this article, this product was one of the most budget-friendly Vitamin D products at Amazon. Solimo Vitamin D3 comes as 1000 IU liquid-filled capsules. The product’s instructions are to take one capsule daily with food. Besides Vitamin D, the product contains safflower oil, gelatin, glycerin and water.
The product may not be vegetarian-friendly as it is not labeled vegetarian, meaning that both the Vitamin D and gelatin may be from animal sources. The product contains no artificial colors and no artificial flavors. It is also free of gluten and lactose.
Amazon users generally like this product, although several reviewers complained of a foul smell from the capsules. Amazon users especially liked the small size of the capsules which made them easy to swallow.
Why we love it: Thorne Research’s Vitamin D3 comes as 1000 IU capsules. The product is meant to be taken daily, although can be taken more frequently if recommended by a doctor. The supplement is free of lactose, BHT, BHA, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, fish and shellfish.
Besides Vitamin D, the product contains microcrystalline cellulose, hyprocellulose, leucine, silicon and Vitamin E. The product is vegetarian-friendly but not vegan-friendly as the source of the Vitamin D is lanolin from sheep’s wool. The Vitamin E in the product is sourced from seasonal grains. Of note, the product contains so little Vitamin E that the recommended daily allowance is not even listed on the product label. The capsules are manufactured in the United States, although it is unclear where the materials are originally sourced.
Thorne Research performs four rounds of testing on all its products, testing the raw materials, in-process batches, finished products and overall product stability. Amazon users like this product, reporting that the capsules are small and easy to swallow.
Why we love it: For those who have a hard time swallowing tablets or capsules, chewable Vitamin D can be a good choice. Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 comes as chewable gummies in wild berry flavor.
The gummies carry a non-GMO label as they contain no genetically modified organisms. The recommended dose is one gummy daily with food. Each gummy has 10 calories and 2 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of sugars.
Other than Vitamin D, the product contains organic cane sugar, organic tapioca syrup, pectin, citric acid, fumaric acid, fruit juice concentrate and natural flavor. The product contains no gluten, gelatin, milk derivatives, preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors.
The gummies are manufactured in the United States, but the countries from which the ingredients are sourced are not listed on the package label. The gummies carry a label that they are third-party purity tested.
Further, they carry a label that their manufacturer is an NSF Certified GMP Facility. This means that the organization NSF International, a public health and safety group, certifies that it complies with the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices.
The product may not be vegetarian-friendly as it is not labeled vegetarian, meaning that the Vitamin D may be from an animal source. Amazon users like this product, saying that it tastes great and is easy to take.
One Amazon user noted that she had not been able to take a Vitamin D supplement in years due to stomach problems but had no problem taking the Nordic Naturals Vitamin D supplement.
Why we love it: Chewable Vitamin D is a good option for people who have trouble swallowing tablets or capsules. Now Supplements Vitamin D comes in a fruit-flavored chewable tablet formulation.
The recommended dose is one chewable tablet daily with a meal. It also comes in a bottle that can be recycled. Besides Vitamin D, the product also contains xylitol, sorbitol, microcrystalline cellulose, natural fruit flavors (fruit punch, strawberry and raspberry), beet powder, stearic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, citric acid and silicon dioxide.
As the tablets are sweetened with xylitol, they are sugar-free. The product carries a label that their manufacturer is a Natural Products Association Certified GMP Facility. This means that the manufacturer complies with the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices.
It also carries a UL certification label, meaning that they are compliant with the safety protocols from Underwriter Laboratories. Although the product is free of wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish, shellfish and tree nuts, the facility where this product is manufactured processes other items containing these ingredients.
For this reason, if you are allergic to one of the above allergens, you may want to avoid this product. Amazon users like this product, saying the tablet size is small and comparing the taste to SweeTarts. However, several Amazon users mentioned that they found the tablets to be chalky.
Why we love it: Liquid Vitamin D is a good option for people who have trouble swallowing tablets or capsules.
Carlson Vitamin D drops come as a liquid, with each drop giving 1000 IU of Vitamin D. The recommended dose is one drop daily. The drops can be mixed with liquid or put on food. The drops carry a non-GMO label as they have no genetically modified organisms. They are vegetarian friendly and unflavored. The drops are free of dairy products, gluten, preservatives and soy.
Besides Vitamin D, the drops contain medium chain triglyceride oil sourced from coconut and palm. The product also undergoes testing for potency by an FDA-registered lab. Amazon users like this product, saying it is easy to use.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is important for many bodily functions. Some people can get enough Vitamin D from being in the sun and having an adequate dietary intake of the vitamin.
However, more than 40% of people in the United States are deficient in Vitamin D. Some people are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D than others. For example, more than 80% of African Americans and almost 70% of people of Hispanic origin are deficient in Vitamin D. For this reason, we have searched the Internet for the top 6 best Vitamin D supplements to boost your Vitamin D levels. Because it is possible to get too much as well as too little Vitamin D, it is important to make sure your levels are monitored by a doctor before taking the vitamin.
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in bone health, the immune system, the nervous system and the cells in your body.
Vitamin D is critical for bone health because it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are needed for strong bones.
Data suggest that Vitamin D may also protect against certain cancers like colon, breast and prostate cancer.
Vitamin D has also been linked to a healthy immune system, but the exact relationship is poorly understood at this time. Many tissues in the body have receptors for Vitamin D and scientists are still trying to figure out why.
Regardless, low levels of Vitamin D are linked to colds, flu and infection. Low Vitamin D is also linked to several autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. Recent research suggests that Vitamin D causes the production of a chemical called CD31 that causes a less intense reaction in parts of the immune system that have been linked to autoimmune diseases.
How Do I Get Vitamin D?
Several forms of Vitamin D exist. The Vitamin D that you get from the sun, food or supplements is in its inactive form. Before it can go to work in the body, it needs to first be activated. The first step is for Vitamin D to go to the liver, where it is converted to calcidiol, also known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
This substance then goes to the kidneys, where it is converted to calcitriol, or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Calcitriol is the active form of Vitamin D, which can then go to work in the body to strengthen your bones.
Vitamin D supplements are available as Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2. Studies have shown that the two forms are similarly effective in the body.
However, over the counter Vitamin D is available as Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. Meanwhile, Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, is a prescription medication.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?
In general, your age determines how much Vitamin D you require:
Recommended Daily Vitamin D Intake (in International Units, or IU)
Up to 12 months old
1 to 70 years old
71 years and older
However, in certain cases your doctor may recommend other, sometimes much higher, doses. Often, this is done to correct low Vitamin D levels in your blood, or if you have a medical condition which makes it hard for your body to absorb Vitamin D. Situations where Vitamin D supplements might be necessary include in people who:
-Are older: As we age, our skin does not make Vitamin D as efficiently as when we were younger. For this reason, older adults may need to supplement Vitamin D.
-Are breastfed babies: Human breastmilk alone does not provide enough Vitamin D. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends supplementing breastfed babies with a Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU daily.
-Have dark skin: Increased amounts of melanin in the skin interfere with the skin’s ability to synthesize Vitamin D. For this reason, people with darker skin may need to supplement Vitamin D.
-Have liver disease: People with liver disease may have problems absorbing fatty vitamins like Vitamin D. For this reason, supplementation may be needed.
-Have cystic fibrosis: The pancreas of people with cystic fibrosis sometimes does not work well, leading to problems absorbing fatty vitamins like Vitamin D. For this reason, Vitamin D supplementation may be needed.
-Have intestinal inflammation: Intestinal inflammation from conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease can interfere with the amount of Vitamin D that is absorbed in the intestines. Vitamin D may need to be supplemented in people who suffer from these conditions.
-Are obese: Although Vitamin D is made in the skin of obese people, because they often have extra fat under their skin, the Vitamin D may collect in the fatty tissue instead of going to the liver and the kidneys to be activated. In turn, this leads to lower Vitamin D levels. People who are obese may, therefore, need to supplement their Vitamin D intake.
-Have had gastric bypass surgery: In certain types of bariatric surgery like the Roux-en-Y procedure, the top of the intestine is bypassed. As this part of the intestine is normally involved in Vitamin D absorption, people who have had bariatric surgery may need to supplement Vitamin D.
Generally, higher Vitamin D doses are taken only for a few months at a time until your Vitamin D levels are optimized. Afterwards, your doctor will often direct you to switch back to taking a lower Vitamin D dose long-term.
How Can I Get Vitamin D from Sunshine?
The human body makes Vitamin D when the skin is directly exposed to sunlight. Human skin contains a steroid chemical called 7-dehydrocholesterol, which is a Vitamin D precursor. When the skin is exposed to UV-B radiation from the sun, this chemical is converted into Vitamin D in the skin.
This chemical reaction takes place even if the person washes their skin with soap and water as soon as they go inside. The person needs to be outside for this to occur: sunlight coming in through a window will not cause the body to make Vitamin D. Other factors can also cut down on the amount of Vitamin D made by the body. These include:
-Time of day
Unlike when taking supplements, it is not possible to get too much Vitamin D in the body from sunlight alone, because the body regulates how much is produced.
What Foods Have Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is naturally found in some foods. Some, like fish and eggs, naturally include Vitamin D. Others, like fortified milk, orange juice and cereal, have Vitamin D added to them during the manufacturing process. Vitamin D rich foods include:
Amount of Vitamin D per serving (in International Units)
Mushrooms (brown, Italian or crimini)
Orange juice, fortified
What Is Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency can cause multiple health problems. These include conditions like rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Both of these medical conditions are characterized by brittle, soft bones. Symptoms are rare but may include bone pain and muscle weakness.
Doctors can monitor your vitamin D intake through blood tests. Although there is some disagreement about optimal Vitamin D levels, most doctors recommend a blood level of at least 30 ng/mL.
However, higher levels are not necessarily better. Vitamin D levels over 50 ng/mL have been linked to health problems including high blood calcium levels. In turn, high calcium levels can cause calcium buildup inside the blood vessels, leading to heart and kidney problems. Further, a recent study showed that taking high doses of Vitamin D – defined as 4000 IU daily or above in the study – did not improve bone health or bone strength.
In fact, taking high doses of Vitamin D in the study was linked to having thinner bones than taking lower doses.
Too much Vitamin D can lead to side effects like:
-Too much blood calcium, leading to confusion, mental status changes and heart rhythm problems
For these reasons, although it is important to make sure that you are getting the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D and that your blood levels are at goal, it is also important to not overshoot the recommended daily requirement unless directed by your doctor.
We have taken this into account while coming up with a list of the Top 6 Best Vitamin D Supplements.
Vitamin D is important for keeping bones healthy and strong. To achieve this, you should make sure that your Vitamin D blood levels are in the recommended range.
Although Vitamin D can be obtained through the sun and diet, supplements are necessary for many people. Taking one of our Top 6 Best Vitamin D Supplements can help achieve this and keep your bones healthy.