Best Vitamin D Supplements
If there’s one vitamin essential in keeping bones, teeth, and muscles healthy, it’s vitamin D. The nutrient (also known as “ergocalciferol”) is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates phosphate in the body and helps the body absorb and retain calcium, a mineral that promotes strong bones.
Besides supporting bone health, a growing number of studies show that vitamin D promotes heart health and can help reduce inflammation. The vitamin also plays a role in supporting a healthy immune system by producing antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria.
Although vitamin D has recently gained widespread interest, little information relative to its impact on mental disorders is available. But recent reports reported that vitamin D deficiency may play a role in depression and possibly other mental disorders.
The impact that vitamin D may have on disorders such as cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and, more recently, diabetes has also been reported in studies.
The nutrient comes in several forms, with the two major forms being vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is found in plant-sourced foods, such as mushrooms, and fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, breads, eggs, yogurt, milk, and salt.
While vitamin D2 and D3 increase levels of the vitamin in the blood, D3 might lead to a greater and longer increase than D2, according to Jinan Banna, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. Vitamin D3 is found in animal-sourced foods such as egg yolk, butter, liver, fish oil, and oily fish, including salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines.
How Much Vitamin D Should You Take?
Like other supplements, vitamin D is measured in an International Unit (IU), which is an internationally accepted amount of a substance that has a certain biological effect. The nutrient is also measured in micrograms (mcg) with 1 mcg of vitamin D equal to 40 IU.
The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements sets the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for vitamin D based on such factors as age and gender. For instance, the RDA for males and females 14 to 70 years old is 600 IU per day, and 800 IU for men and women 70 years old and older.
Studies have found that many Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, according to Dr. Arielle Levitan, author of The Vitamin Solution, and co-founder of Vous Vitamin, LLC. Levitan recommends taking between 800 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D each day. Those who are not sure how much vitamin D to take can consult a doctor who can determine the amount based on a blood test.
The 10 Best Vitamin D Products
Besides getting vitamin D in food, the nutrient can be taken as supplements, such as oral tablets, capsules, gummies, and liquid drops. Nutritionists recommend choosing Vitamin D products that have been verified by U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), NSF International, or other independent certifiers that develop standards to assess the quality of dietary supplements.
As with any product, some vitamin D supplements are better than others. The following are 10 of the best vitamin D products that nutritionists recommend:
1. Nature Made D3 Adult Gummies
The 75-day supply of fruit-flavored gummies delivers 2000 IU of vitamin D in a single dose. These gummies do not contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, sweeteners, or synthetic dye, and are USP verified.
2. NOW Chewable Vitamin D3 5000 IU, Structural Support
NOW’s supply of 120 non-GMO chewables are free of yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish, or shellfish ingredients. The chewable vitamins are also sweetened with natural vanilla and peppermints flavors, as well as the sugar alcohols, xylitol, and sorbitol, which are popular alternatives to sugar. Despite the “alcohol” in the name, the chewable does not contain the type of alcohol that makes people drunk.
3. Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3 Softgels
One soft gel provides 2000 IU of vitamin D. The 350-count rapid-release soft gels are USP verified; non-GMO, gluten-, sodium-, and sugar-free, and contain no artificial colors, sweeteners, yeast, fish, milk or lactose.
4. Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Vitamin D Softgels
Costco’s Kirkland Signature extra strength soft gels deliver 2000 IU of vitamin D. The 600-count soft gels are USP verified and will last at least a year.
5. Carlson Labs Super Daily D3 Liquid Vitamin D Drops
Those who have difficulty swallowing pills or prefer not to chew gummies may prefer taking vitamin D drops. Carlson Labs vegetarian drops are available in 1000 or 2000 IU doses and can be added to food or drink.
6. Persona Nutrition Vitamin D
Persona Nutrition customizes vitamins and supplements for customers based on a five-minute assessment of the customers’ diet and lifestyle. Persona Nutrition offers three types of vitamin D supplements:
- Vitamin D which has 1000 IU of vitamin D3.
- Vitamin D Vegan, which contains a vegan-friendly form of D3 derived from lichens.
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with Vitamin D. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon. This supplement contains 225 mg of DHA, 42 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and 1000 IU of vitamin D3. DHA and EPA are commonly used together to lower the risk of heart disease.
Persona subscribers can get their products delivered to their homes.
Care/of is another subscription-based vitamin service that offers two types of vitamin D products: The Sunny D3 and the Vegan Sunny D3. Both products contain 1000 IU per capsule of vitamin D. Care/of asks customers to take a diet and lifestyle assessment to determine the type of vitamin D they need.
8. Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 10,000 IU
People who are at risk of vitamin D3 deficiency are usually advised by their doctor to take high doses of vitamin D. With 120 capsules, each bottle of Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 can last for up to four months at the recommended dosage.
9. NOW Foods D3 10,000 IU
These 120 highly absorbable liquid soft gels are non-GMO, and free of soy, corn, dairy, egg, sugar, and gluten. Once again, it is advisable to check with a doctor before consuming such a high dose of vitamin D.
10. Designs for Health’s Liposomal Vitamin D Supreme
Designs for Health’s Liposomal Vitamin D Supreme combines vitamins D with K to support healthy bones and proper calcium balance in the body. The vitamins are encased in liposomes, which deliver nutrients into the bloodstream. Research shows liposomal forms of vitamin D are better absorbed by the body than tablet forms of vitamin D supplements. The pump delivers 2500 IU of vitamin D3 and 325 mg of vitamin K as K1 and K2.
One of the best free sources of vitamin D comes from the sun, which is why vitamin D is also called the “sunshine vitamin.” Being in the sun can produce vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun.
So, some people may not need to take a vitamin D supplement, according to Frances Largeman-Roth, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen. But, she adds, that’s only if people live in a sunny state, and if they spend plenty of time outside, and if they eat plenty of fatty fish.
The best way for people to find out if they need a vitamin D supplement is to check with their doctor. What’s more, people who prefer getting their vitamin D through sunshine should put on plenty of sunscreen.