10 Best Vitamin D Supplements Reviewed
Vitamin D is important… really important. It’s the only vitamin absorbed through our skin from being out in the sun. We also need to get it from certain types of seafood and fish, egg yolks, as well as various fortified foods.
Studies show that it helps reduce anxiety and depression, aids in weight loss and normal immune system function, helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and reduces the risks of heart disease and multiple sclerosis. Deficiencies may show up as weariness, unexplained bone and muscle weakness, general aches and pains, and brain fog. More serious problems such as osteoporosis and various cancers may occur as a result of a Vitamin D deficiency.
Even with the importance of Vitamin D in mind, many studies suggest that many of us are woefully deficient in this vital nutrient. Therefore we need to take supplements to help us get the levels that we need. But, as important as vitamin D is for the health, too much can also cause hemophilia, kidney stones, and muscle weakness. Consult your doctor before starting or increasing any vitamin supplement program.
- Sports Research Vitamin D3
- High quality
- Bio-Tech D3
- High Dose
- Nature Made Vitamin D3 Softgels
- Great Value
10 Best Vitamin D Supplements
Sports Research Vitamin D3 with Coconut Oil
Because these capsules contain coconut oil, they may appear “cloudy” due to its semi-solid state, not because they have gone bad or are defective. Coconut oil has many health benefits it could almost be considered a panacea. These benefits include: beautiful skin and hair, increasing energy levels and anti-oxidants, hormone balance, and anti-aging. It also helps with weight loss, building muscle, reducing incidences of heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, various infections and skin conditions, brain fog and Alzheimer’s symptoms, selective stomach problems, diabetes, and cancer.
This supplement is gluten free which is safe for those with celiac disease.
This is an excellent value – almost a year’s worth of pills (if taken once daily). With a 2 year shelf life you don’t have to worry about them going bad if you forget to take them once and awhile.
- Excellent quality product/ attractive packaging
- Made in the USA
- Made with coconut oil, which has numerous health benefits (see key features)
- Gluten free
- Emulsified for better absorption
- Some users experience unpleasant side effects / allergic reactions / no effect
- Some customers complained about bad smelling pills or pills sticking together
- Some users had a bad experience with the company in terms of customer service
Bio-Tech’s D3 Contains 50,000 IUs, which some may find to be too much. On the other hand, if the user is prescribed a supplement, these may work.
This is an average (if a tad high) price for these caps, but not many brands on the market contain 50,000 IUs of Vitamin D.
- 50,000 of Vitamin D
- Halal certified
- Users have reported a reduction or even elimination of various health problems
- Effective for vitamin D level maintenance
- Works as well as prescription vitamins (for some users)
- Some users will find 50,000 too high of a dose/ experience negative side effects
- Some users received bottles that were about to expire or already expired.
- Not all users will see effect
- Low bio-availability by itself (some users have suggested taking with Vitamin K2 to help with absorption)
Nature Made Vitamin D3 Softgels
These Nature Made Vitamin D3 have only 1000 IUs. Many other brands have higher amounts.
These softgels are US Pharmacopeia Certified, which means that the manufacturer initially sent samples of their product to an outside lab to be tested. The agency retests one (1) to six (6) times yearly from samples they pick up in the store. This is the only product on the list to have such a certification.
The Nature Made Vitamin D3 1000 IU is an excellent value in terms of cost for a softgel product. If taken once daily, there’s about a 10 month supply in each bottle.
- Easy to take pill, about half the size of a pea
- Safety / anti-tampering feature for the bottle
- No aftertaste
- US Pharmacopeia Certified
- Some users complained about the pills sticking together
- Only 1000 IUs, which may not be enough for some users.
- Some users have had negative side effects
- May Contain GMOs (at least according to one user)
Solgar Vitamin D3 Softgels
The Soldar Vitamin D3 are advertised to support muscles and the immune system, which some people are looking for in a vitamin D supplement.
These vitamin D3 contain 10,000 IUs of vitamin D, which may not be a suitable amount for all users
This is an excellent price for these softgels, in fact based on the dosage, it’s the best value.
- 10,000 IUs of vitamin D3
- Contains no GMOs, gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, sodium, sweeteners, artificial colors or preservatives
- Sometimes bottle will smell rancid
- Sometimes pills will clump together
- May be too high of a dose, unless prescribed
Biotics Research Bio-D-Mulsion Forte
The Biotics Research Bio-D-Mulsion Forte Vitamin D is a liquid form has “micro emulsion” for easy absorption – useful to know about if you want maximum absorption
The liquid comes in an easy dispense container something like an “eye dropper” to help avoid accidental overdosing.
This is an excellent value for liquid vitamin D drops, but users should beware of the taste/ consistency of the product.
- Formula reduces risk of hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the blood)
- Liquid formula for better absorption
- Bottle lasts a long time
- Recommended by Naturopaths
- Difficult to get “proper” sized drops
- Some users may not like the side effects/ taste/ consistency
- Some users have received out of date products.
NOW Foods Vitamin D-3 Softgels
This product is Good Manufacturing (GMP) Certified. This certification is a system which safeguards products, ensuring they are produced with controls in place to protect quality standards, thus minimizing pharmaceutical production risks involved in the manufacturing process which can’t be removed through final product testing.
This is an excellent value for these softgels, among the cheapest in fact on the list. If taken once daily, one bottle will last the user about 8 months.
- Easy to swallow
- 2 year shelf-life
- Contains Extra Virgin Olive Oil as a natural emulsifier
- GMP Certified
- No soybean oil
- Some users may have negative side effects from use
- Sometimes the pills stick together
- Bottle is not childproof
MegaFood Vitamin D3
For those who are concerned about consuming GMOs, the MegaFood - Vitamin D-3 2000 IU is Non-GMO certified. This means that everything from the seeds through harvest, transport through processing and everything in-between are certified to be organic.
Users will also want to know that this is in a hard pill/ tablet form (as opposed to a gelcap, softgel or liquid formula), as some find them to be less effective
This is an expensive product in terms of cost, that’s for sure! The pills, if taken daily are only about a 3 month supply. Given that they have multiple layers of testing, the fact that it is non-GMO certified, vegetarian, food based product; it’s well worth the cost.
- All Natural / Non-GMO certified
- Vegetarian & Food based
- Thoroughly tested
- Easily digested
- Contains yeast: not suitable to those prone to yeast infections
- Contains Lanolin
- Pill form (and “pill smell!” according to some users)
Madina Halal D3
These vitamins are Halal Certified, which are the dietary restrictions those of the Muslim faith follow.
In addition to 5000 IUs of vitamin D, this supplement also contains 70 mg of calcium and 55 mg of phosphate.
This is an expensive product, probably due to the fact that it’s halal certified, as well as being tested in an FDA approved facility.
- All natural ingredients
- Product made in a FDA approved facility
- Quality Tested
- Halal pork free certified by both the IFNCA and Omaha’s Halal Transaction Council
- May not work for all users
Nature Made Vitamin D3 Adult Gummies
Nature Made Adult Gummies Vitamin D3 is a gummy product, not pills, liquid or drops. This means you chew them like a fruit snack or candy.
The only supplement in these gummy chews is 2000 IUs of Vitamin D.
The Nature Made Adult Gummies Vitamin D3 gummies are an excellent value in terms of cost, but not all users will enjoy the taste.
- Natural fruit flavors of strawberry, peach and mango
- Easy to chew
- Some users prefer gummies to pills or liquids
- Some users may not like the flavors/ texture/ hardness/ size
- Some users have commented that the product has recently changed
NOW Vitamin D-3 & K-2 Liposomal Spray
Includes 100 mcg Vitamin K-2, which is important for Vitamin D absorption. This is the only vitamin D supplement on the list that specifically contains this ingredient.
The Now Vitamin D3 comes in a Spray bottle, which some users may prefer the convenience over tablets, softgels, or gelcaps. The spray comes out like a mist.
This is a mid-priced option. There are about 80 sprays per bottle, which is a bit less than a 3 month supply.
- Contains Vitamin K
- Citrus taste
- Easy to use
- Absorbs quickly
- Contains GMO Soy
- Some users may not like the taste
- Bottle may leak
There are a variety of vitamin D supplements on the market. They come in a variety of forms, and are often sold in combination with other vitamins and nutrients so that you get the very most out of your Vitamin D supplement. But depending on your specific needs and goals, one option might be better suited for you than another. Below is our buying guide, which will help you figure out which Vitamin D supplement from our list is the right one for you. In it, you will find the criteria we used to measure and compare our products, as well as other individual factors to consider before you go with just one Vitamin D supplement, and general FAQs about Vitamin D Supplements.
The Criteria We Used to Choose the Best Vitamin D Supplements
Spending money on a Vitamin D supplement is all fine and well until you bring it home and realize it does not actually do what it is supposed to do. If you buy it and intend to use it regularly, then you should obviously see results. This is especially important if you are taking a Vitamin D Supplement because of doctor’s orders. If your health is at risk or if you are experiencing negative health side effects because your Vitamin D is too low, then it is particularly important that you increase your Vitamin D consumption and that the supplement you choose to help bump up those Vitamin D levels actually works. One sign of potential Vitamin D deficiency include feeling sad, lonely, or depressed because Vitamin D helps regulate serotonin, the brain hormone responsible for maintaining your mood.
Individuals who are over the age of 50 (and especially over the age of 70) are at an increased risk for naturally decreasing Vitamin D levels, as are people who are over weight or obese (or even just those who have a higher percentage of overall muscle mass) because Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, and thus is “collected” by fat stores so the more fat you have, the more vitamin D you will need to function – and the same holds true for higher levels of muscle, which, too, “cling” to Vitamin D. Other signs of potential Vitamin D deficiency include overall malaise and fatigue, achy joints and bones, profuse head sweating, and gastrointestinal issues like bloating, gas, nausea, and just general stomach pain.
But what about just getting getting your Vitamin D from the sun? Sure, that is definitely an option. Sunlight is an excellent source of Vitamin D because when the sun’s UV-B rays come in contact with skin, our skin cells react by naturally producing Vitamin D (through a process in which they actually turn cholesterol on the skin into calciol or Vitamin D3, which is then converted to calcidiol in the liver). The more fair skinned you are, the faster your skin tends to absorb UV-B rays and manufacture Vitamin D. (Wearing sunscreen serves to decrease the rapid absorption of UV-B rays, so take this into account when you go outside.) But getting our Vitamin D doses from the sun alone is not always a feasible thing, nor is it safe if you take your tanning and sun exposure to extremes.
Most of us work full-time or part-time jobs, go to school, have families and extra curricular activities and other priorities that take up our days. Not to mention, depending on where you live, you might not even see the sun for six months out of the year (hey there, Alaskans!) or it might be just too bitter and cold to step outside with bare skin to soak up the rays. This is where a Vitamin D supplement can really come in handy, but again, if it does not actually boost your Vitamin D levels, then it is not going to do you any good.
When you regularly take a Vitamin D supplement, you will likely start to develop stronger bones and healthier teeth. This is because one of the main functions of Vitamin D (and thus, proof of effectiveness) is that it helps the body take in and absorb calcium that is in the intestines, which would otherwise be excreted through the kidneys. But besides bone health, Vitamin D can be one of your greatest defenses against overall fatigue and illness (especially illnesses like the common cold and the flu) and can keep serotonin levels balanced and your mental health on track. Luckily, we took all of these health benefits into consideration when we chose which Vitamin D supplements were best. The supplements included in our list will effectively help you increase and maintain strong bone health, show off a beautiful smile, combat tiredness and sickness even during the long winter months when everyone around you seems to be ailing, and help keep you happy!
2. Key Features
One of the big advantages of taking in vitamins and minerals through supplements is that, because these drugs are synthetically created and closely monitored, they will often offer certain health benefits and special features that are important to consumers. Some of the key features we focused on when comparing Vitamin D supplements (aside from their effectiveness) were things like how easy the pills are to swallow, the length of shelf life of the supplement, the taste and smell of the supplement, and how well they fit into specialty diets.
Easy to swallow: For the Vitamin D supplement options on our list that are sold in pill form, we took into account how easy (or not) they are to swallow. The majority of the traditional pill forms on our list are very small, easy to swallow, and dissolve super quickly (yet they still pack in enough Vitamin D to easily help you reach appropriate levels in the blood). However, if you just really prefer a non-pill form when taking your supplements, we have a few options that are sold in liquid forms or chewable tablets (and thus, very easy to swallow).
Length of Shelf Life: We know that being healthy and getting in the right amounts of vitamins and minerals into your diet is important to you, but we also understand that sometimes, life gets in the way and despite our best efforts to be regimented and disciplined about our supplement routine, things fall by the wayside. Early mornings happen, late nights packed with events get in the way, and sometimes we just forget. But that does not mean the supplements we have invested so much money into should just go bad on us so quickly. Luckily, we took into account how long each of the Vitamin D supplements on our list will last in your medicine cabinet.
Generally, supplements sold as pills will last longer than those sold as liquids. Therefore, if shelf life is of a major concern to you, go with one of the options on our list that is sold as a pill. The FDA even suggests that, for the vast majority of supplements on the market today, shelf life actually extends up to a year past what is printed as the expiration date on the bottle. Still, be sure to be mindful of expiration dates. For the most part, supplements will last well over two years after you buy them, and some as long as five.
Taste and smell: For foods, and even some medicines, you are interested in options that smell appealing and taste great. However, in the case of most supplements, – especially supplements sold in pill form – it is what you DO NOT smell or taste that are actually the best options. For the most part, the Vitamin D supplements on our list don’t have much of a smell or taste at all – and if they do (like the Nature Made Adult Gummies) then they actually taste quite pleasant. However, it is good to know that even though products made from natural sources and organic ingredients might be considered “healthier” or “safer” by some consumers, they also have higher chances of smelling foul or tasting bitter because they do not have artificial preservatives in them to keep away a bad smell or taste. (But if they do smell or taste a little funny, that also does not mean they have gone bad or rancid either!)
Specialty diets: If you are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, or have committed to the sometimes tough changes and challenges it takes to stick to a specialty diet plan like the ketogenic diet, Paleo, Whole 30, or just making swaps and sacrifices to focus on getting in more locally sourced, organic, and non-GMO foods, then you definitely do not want your supplements to throw off all your hard work! We looked for Vitamin D supplements that fit into a wide variety of specialty diets. Many of the ones included in our list are produced and created from organic and natural sources. With many of the options on our list, you can feel secure in knowing you are consuming a product that is not made from GMOs, nor do most of them have added sweeteners, sodium, dairy, or artificial colors and preservatives.
3. The Overall Value of the Vitamin D Supplement
When creating our list of Vitamin D supplements, we paid close attention to what each supplement costs. A daily supplement routine should not cost you a ton of money. In short, you should not have to sacrifice health just because you live on a limited budget. Our list of Vitamin D supplements run a bit of a wide range of price (mostly due to what ingredients are contained in the supplement) ranging from just eight dollars a bottle all the way up to $32. However, more important than just total cost of each bottle of pills is the amount of pills contained in each bottle because that will give an indicator of how long each bottle will last (and thus, how far you can stretch your dollar). On average, you can find around 100 capsules in each bottle, though some are as much as 200 and over.
The number of pills in each bottle will give you an idea of what the per serving cost will be (which is the REAL indicator of cost). Per serving costs on our bottles range from just 2 cents per serving all the way up to nearly 35 cents. However, cost is just one piece of the puzzle. We want you to be getting the very best VALUE for your money, which is determined by cost but also by several other factors. Things that give value to a supplement are how long the pills will last you, how much Vitamin D is contained in each pill, the quality of ingredients used to create the supplement, how convenient it is to purchase (i.e. is it sold at most grocery and/or health food stores near you) and how easily taking the supplement daily can fit into your schedule, etc. Considering all of these components of ‘value’ is what helped us narrow down our list to the ten Vitamin D supplements we have included here, so you can be sure that you really are getting the best overall value for your money.
Other Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Vitamin D Supplement
Does skin cancer run in your family?
While skin cancer is not just strictly an inherited disease, and ANYONE can get it by too much sun exposure, those who have a family history of skin cancer are far more likely to contract the disease than others who are not genetically predispositioned to it. If you do, then getting your Vitamin D from the sun is probably not the best idea, and serves as good reason to think about supplementing your diet with a Vitamin D supplement to increase your Vitamin D amounts.
Do you have osteoperosis, osteopenia, or just weak and/or brittle bones in general?
One of the main functions Vitamin D serves is to help your bones and body properly absorb calcium, as well as phosphorous. Calcium intake and absorption is critical for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, so if you are a runner prone to stress fractures, or if you know you have osteoperosis or osteopenia, or are on the verge of developing these conditions, focus not only on upping your calcium intake but also your vitamin D intake.
Are you pregnant?
If you are pregnant and deficient in adequate levels of Vitamin D, you might be at a greater risk of developing preeclampsia (a condition that typically develops later on in the third trimester of pregnancy that can cause high blood pressure, kidney damage, and other potentially fatal side effects when not taken care of properly) and needing to give birth via a cesarean section. Vitamin D deficient pregnant women are also more prone to develop gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis. However, the answer is not to load up on and get your hands on as much Vitamin D as you possibly can if you are pregnant because if you get TOO much Vitamin D when you are pregnant, your child will have an increased risk of developing food allergies during their first couple years of life.
Are you dark skinned?
Dark skin does not absorb sunlight as readily as fair skin does. This is why skin cancer is less commonly found among darker skinned individuals and African Americans. However, this can also be problematic when it comes to Vitamin D and Vitamin D intake. Darker skinned people will not absorb Vitamin D from sunlight as readily and as easily as fair skinned individuals. If you are darker skinned, it would be a wise choice to start incorporating Vitamin D into your daily supplement routine to make sure you do not run the risk of developing a Vitamin D deficiency.
Can you easily swallow pills?
-Some adults, and especially children, need to take medicines and drugs only in liquid or chewable forms because they cannot swallow pills – either due to a personal aversion or are very sensitive to size and have trouble swallowing any pills too large. If you prefer a liquid or chewable tablet, then our list has some great options for you – particularly the Nature Made Adult gummies and the Biotics Research Bio-D-Mulsion Formula that is a liquid; There is also an option on our list that is conveniently sold in spray form – the NOW Vitamin D-3 & K-2 Liposomal Spray.
Q: How much Vitamin D is recommended?
A: Fat soluble vitamins, like Vitamin D (and Vitamin A and E), are measured in “international units” (IU) and are used to calculate recommended amounts. Different people at varying stages of life need different amounts of Vitamin D each day. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends a 400 IU of Vitamin D each day for babies ranging newborn to one year.
Then for everyone else, ranging 12 months all the way to 70 years of age, it is suggested that 600 IU of Vitamin D be consumed each day (this also holds true for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding). For adults over the age of 70, the Food and Nutrition Board recommends around 800 IU a day. (The daily recommendations by the United States government and FDA are a bit lower than this, but it is largely agreed upon by experts that the FDA’s recommendation are too low, so we have listed the slightly higher recommended amounts).
Q: What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
A: Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency in children include developing rickets, which is a disease characterized by severe bowleggedness, as well as and brittle/ soft bones and mineralization of bones. In adults, osteoporosis or osteopenia are common symptoms of having too little Vitamin D, as well as poor bone health and frequent fractures (especially of the spine, femur, and humerus). Adults and children will also experience low bone density and weak muscles.
Q: Who is most at risk for Vitamin D deficiency?
A: It might come as a bit of a surprise, but Vitamin D deficiency is actually quite common, particularly among the elderly, in infants, in people with darker skinned who are less prone to absorb Vitamin D from direct sunlight because of the darker pigmentation of their skin, and people living at higher latitudes who see less of the sun. One of the main reasons Vitamin D deficiency is more common in older adults is because these people are at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis and bone health issues because of the natural weakening of bones with age.
Q. Is there such thing as too MUCH Vitamin D?
A: In short, the Vitamin D Council claims that amounts found in the blood over 150 ng/ml are toxically high levels of Vitamin D. Unfortunately, even if you cease taking a Vitamin D supplement to decrease your Vitamin D levels, chances are it will stay at this toxically high level for up to several months. This is because Vitamin D is stored in body fat and released into the bloodstream very slowly, so even if you are not actively consuming Vitamin D, it will not automatically halt that slow release into the blood.
Fortunately, toxicity of Vitamin D is a very rare occurrence and typically only happens in people who have been taking extremely high doses of Vitamin D for a very long time. (You also cannot reach these dangerously high Vitamin D levels through dietary intake or sun exposure alone – only from Vitamin D supplements.)
Q: What foods and beverages are good sources of Vitamin D?
A: It is a good thing that our bodies can produce its own Vitamin D from sun exposure because getting adequate Vitamin D amounts from food is not an easy thing – not a ton of foods are natural Vitamin D sources. Some of the most common foods with the highest sources Vitamin D are highly fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Other foods that have limited Vitamin D amounts include fatty beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and many foods today are fortified with Vitamin D like pasteurized dairy milks, breakfast cereals, and some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine and soy.
Q: How much will a Vitamin D supplement cost me?
A: From the options on our list, a bottle of Vitamin D will range from just $8 all the way up to almost $40. The average cost of a Vitamin D supplement, however, usually hovers around $15 to $20.
Q: Are there places where vitamin D is more vital for physical health?
A: Certainly. For those who live in areas that see substantially less sunlight during certain periods of the year, it becomes more important to supplement the vitamin D intake to make up for what you lose due to the lack of sunlight.
Here are some sources that we found helpful:
- 7 Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms – Check Yourself, Health Advice Webpage Article, Oct 01, 2017 ,
- Time in the Sun: How Much Is Needed for Vitamin D?, US News Health Webpage Article, Jun 23, 2008 ,
- Supplement Expiration Dates: How Reliable Are They?, Supplement Expiration Date Discussion Board, Jul 01, 2006 ,
- The Truth About Vitamin D: Why You Need Vitamin D, WebMD Informational Health Article, Nov 30, 2010 ,
- What is Vitamin D and What Does It Do For You?, National Institutes of Health Consumer Information Article, Jan 04, 2016 ,
- 6 Side Effects of Too Much Vitamin D, Informational Dietary and Health Article, Feb 26, 2017 ,
- What is Preeclampsia?, BabyCenter Informational Article, Nov 01, 2016 ,