September 25, 2021 — 10:04 AM
Vitamin D is a big topic right now—and considering an alarming 41% of American adults meet the criteria for insufficiency (meaning they have levels lower than 30 ng/ml) and 93% of U.S. adults aren’t even getting 400 IU of this essential fat-soluble vitamin from their daily diet, it’s well-deserving of the attention.
Given how tricky (OK, more like impossible) it is to get ample amounts of the nutrient from food and sunlight alone, taking a supplement is ultimately the route to achieving and sustaining an ideal vitamin D level—which is 50 ng/ml or higher—for life.*
The thing is, though, that all vitamin D supplements are not created equal. In fact, they’re far from it. Here are our top picks for getting the high-quality vitamin D you need (and in ample amounts) from your supplement routine.
- Best overall: vitamin D potency+, mindbodygreen
- Best vegan D3 tablet: Vitamin D3 from Organic Lichens, Truvani
- Best chewable D3: Chewable Vitamin D3 5,000 IU, NOW Foods
- Best kids’ D3 gummy: Kids First Vitamin D3 Gummies, Nature Made
- Best liquid D3 for babies: Baby’s Vitamin D3, Nordic Naturals
- Best D3 + K2 combo: Plant-Based D3+K2 2-in-1 Formula, Sports Research
- Best fermented D3: Vitamin D3 2,000 IU, MegaFood
- Best extra-high-potency D3 capsules: Vitamin D3 10,000 IU, Pure Encapsulations
Our Favorite Vitamin D Supplements
best overall: mindbodygreen vitamin D3 potency+
Offering 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per single gelcap serving, mbg’s vitamin D3 potency+ is derived from organic algae, the highest quality plant source available. It also features a unique trio of organic virgin oils (from avocados, flaxseed, and olives) to drive optimal vitamin D absorption, in addition to delivering healthy omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and pro-metabolic health properties. Just one gelcap of this one-of-a-kind formulation daily promotes vitamin D sufficiency for life. This is the latest in vitamin D technology (plus, GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free).*
Best vegan: Truvani Vitamin D3 from Organic Lichens
A lower potency dose (2,000 IU) and sourced from organic lichens, Truvani’s vitamin D3 supplement comes in the form of an uncoated tablet. It’s completely vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. Though it’s plenty small enough to swallow easily, you can also crush it up or dissolve it into smoothies or other foods. It’s also free of corn byproducts, artificial ingredients, and other unnecessary additives, but you will find organic tapioca, rice hulls, and acacia fiber.
Best chewable: NOW Chewable Vitamin D3 5,000 IU
If you have trouble swallowing supplements, this option from NOW comes in a tasty chewable form with a natural mint flavor. To address most people’s high vitamin D needs given lack of sun exposure and limited food sources high in the nutrient, this supplement provides 5,000 IU of D3. (FYI: A little natural color variation may occur; nothing to worry about!) Some folks have GI considerations with sugar alcohols, so we’ll mention that those are in this formula, just in case.
Best gummy for kids: Nature Made Kids First Vitamin D Gummies
These strawberry-, peach-, and mango-flavored gummies provide kids from ages four to 18 with 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 to support healthy bone and tooth development.* Made with natural fruit flavors and colors derived from natural sources, they’re free of high-fructose corn syrup, gluten, artificial flavors, and artificial sweeteners. This is a nutrition ritual that kids look forward to!
Best liquid for babies: Nordic Naturals Baby’s Vitamin D3
Third-party purity tested and non-GMO verified, Nordic Naturals’ liquid vitamin D3 formula for babies offers 400 IU of D3 per serving. Made with organic extra-virgin olive oil, it’s free from gluten, milk derivatives, and anything artificial—and comes with a measured dropper so it can be easily added to formula or breast milk. This pick also just so happens to be the official baby’s vitamin D3 supplement pick of the American Pregnancy Association.
Best D3+K2 combo: Sports Research Plant-Based D3+K2
Sports Research’s unique plant-based supplement combines 5,000 IU of vegan vitamin D3 from lichen with 100 mcg of vitamin K2 derived from chickpeas, plus virgin coconut oil, in a plant-based capsule. The end result: a vegan certified and non-GMO combo supplement. Note: While D3 and K2 are not combined for absorption reasons (common misconception), they are both awesome fat-soluble vitamins.
Best fermented: MegaFood Vitamin D3 2,000 IU
MegaFood’s vitamin D3 supplement provides 2,000 IU of fermented cholecalciferol, plus a blend of organic whole foods that provide synergistic cofactors, which includes organic broccoli, parsley, carrot, and beet root. In all, the supplement is free from glyphosate residue, gluten, dairy, and soy, and is Non-GMO Project verified and vegetarian, making it a versatile option for upping your vitamin D intake.
Best extra high-potency: Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 10,000 IU
If you’re in need of extra-high doses of vitamin D, Pure Encapsulations’ D3 supplement offers 10,000 IU per serving. This vegetarian, non-GMO, certified gluten-free option is a simple but potent supplement for supporting bone health and more.*
What to look for in a vitamin D supplement.
We’ve hand-selected the products featured here and recommend them wholeheartedly. That said, we also want to give you the know-how to look for your own vitamin D supplements—or, at the very least, help you understand our selection process.
Here are a few must-have criteria when searching for a vitamin D supplement, according to mbg director of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN:
- Adults should look for a minimum of 2,000 I.U. per day (5,000 I.U. daily is best, but even more might be necessary if the person has higher body fat or if an individual’s D deficiency is stubborn)* Note: Infants need 400 I.U. of vitamin D per day, while 1,000 I.U. daily is a healthy vitamin D dose for children and adolescents.
- Opt for vitamin D3 form (cholecalciferol), which is two to three times more potent than D2 (ergocalciferol).
- For animal-source D3, look for lanolin (derived from sheep’s wool), which is high quality and affordable.
- For vegetarian or vegan D3 sources, look for algae or lichen (though algae is considered to be more sustainable, and organic algae is the most premium option).
The benefits of vitamin D.
- It helps regulate the production of thyroid hormones.*
- During pregnancy, it promotes better maternal and infant outcomes related to bone density, immune function, fetal growth, maternal metabolic health, and more.*
- It supports immunity, promoting white blood cell function, helping the immune system adapt to and ward off threats, and more.*
- It does your gut good by playing a key role in the health and integrity of the gut mucosal lining.*
- It helps the body absorb and maintain the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus, which are both crucial for bone health.*
Supplementing with vitamin D is a simple (and typically necessary) way to ensure you get the daily vitamin D you need to hit and maintain healthy vitamin D status for life.* Consult with your health care provider to identify your unique needs and goals, but know that these hand-selected supplements are a great place to start.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.