Best Vitamin D Supplements Reviewed
Winter is coming.
It was bound to happen. The temperates begin to drop, and those gloomy gray clouds roll in and seem to park it in the sky all winter. These unpleasant winter conditions are not only hard to look at, but it can also drain the Vitamin D that you get from the sun.
Adding Vitamin D supplements to your diet is a great way to ensure that you get exactly what you need without heading outdoors. This vitamin helps calcium absorb into your system, which keeps your bones as well as your muscles strong so that you can avoid injuries when you are training at the gym. Plus, it helps to boost your mood on those cloudy winter days!
In this guide, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite vitamin D supplements to help you make it through the winter unscathed and bright-eyed!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 8 hrs of research
Tasteless and odorless
Easy to swallow
Best Vitamin D Supplements
Tasteless and odorless
Easy to swallow
The reason that we selected this option for the top of our list is that it is made from all-natural and plant-based ingredients that you can feel good about. Users love that these capsules are incredibly easy to take, and they come from a trusted brand in the vitamin and supplement industry.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this option is that it is made from all-natural ingredients that come from plant-based sources. Many gel capsules use gelatin for their exterior coating, which is derived from animals (most commonly from cows). It is also dairy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
One serving of this option delivers 5,000 IU into your system. The addition of olive oils into this supplement capsule helps move the vitamins quickly into your system for fast absorption. Simply take one small capsule around mealtime to ensure that you get your full dosage of vitamin D for the day.
For those on the market for something that is composed of all-natural ingredients that are perfect for those on a plant-based diet, this is one of your best options. It delivers a full dosage of Vitamin D to your diet that absorbs quickly into your system after taking a single capsule.
2. Nature Made
Easy to swallow
180 day supply
What we liked about this option from Nature Made is that it comes from a trusted company that you can feel good about. Each serving has more than your daily recommended dosage, which is ideal for those that have an established deficiency. Plus, they are coated in a soft gel which makes them incredibly easy to swallow as well.Read more
One of the things that we liked most about these Vitamin D supplements is that they are packed with 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3- which is the same vitamin that your body produces when exposed to direct sunlight. This means that taking these supplements is very similar to the vitamins you absorb spending the day out in the bright sun.
Users also really like that this option is incredibly easy to swallow. This formula contains soybean oil that really helps the vitamins to absorb quickly into your system. If you are on a purely plant-based diet, this option may not be for you. While the formula is completely plant-based, the gel coating is composed of gelatin (which is derived from animal by-products).
For that in the market for something that is easy to take with meals and doesn’t have an unpleasant aftertaste, this is a great option. It is composed of quality ingredients that you can feel good about. Plus, it is packed 5,000 IU of Vitamin D to keep your muscles and immune system strong in the cold winter months.
Want to eat candy instead of taking your Vitamin D supplements? You can have the best of both worlds! What we loved about this option from Vitafusion is that you can get your full dosage of Vitamin D3 with a sweet and chewy gummy candy. Plus, it is composed of natural ingredients without the use of dyes which means you can feel good about taking this supplement.Read more
While it may taste sweet like candy, the good news about this option is that it is made without the use of high fructose corn syrup or synthetics dyes. This formula is considered to be non-GMO, dairy-free, and gluten-free. It is important to note that the addition of gelatin to the formula means that it is not considered to be vegetarian.
One serving of Vitafusion is composed of 2 gummy candies. Each gummy has 1,500 IU of Vitamin D, which means one serving is a total of 3,000 IU. While this may seem like less than other options, some users that do not have a deficiency and just need a little boost may benefit from this weaker blend.
Why take boring pills when you can eat candy and get all of the benefits of a supplement? What users love most about this blend is that it provides more than your daily dosage of Vitamin D while being sweet without the additional calories or high fructose corn syrup.
4. Nordic Naturals
What we liked most about these Vitamin D supplements from Nordic Naturals is that it is made from all-natural ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil and rosemary extract. This formula is easy to take with meals, and it also provides you with just the right amount of Vitamin D without any excess.Read more
On the surface, this option looks as if it has quite a bit less Vitamin D than other options- and that is very true. This option has only 1,000 IU per serving. However, 1,000 IU equals 125% of your daily recommended value. If you simply need a modest supplement to get you through the winter without excess, this is a great option.
Users also love that this option is made from natural and dairy-free non-GMO ingredients. Extra virgin olive oil is found within the capsule to help your body absorb the vitamins quickly into your system. It also has rosemary extract that acts as a natural preservative. While the inside of these capsules is vegan, the outside gel capsule is made from gelatin which means that they contain animal by-products.
For those in the market for something that is simple and effective, this is worth checking out. What we love about this formula is that it is much milder than other options out there on the market, which is perfect for those looking for a little boost 12 months out of the year.
No artificial dyes
This option from OLLY acts like a little bit of sunshine in a bottle. It is packed with vitamin D3, which is the same type of vitamin that your body products when you spend time in the nice warm sunshine. These gummy candies are shaped to look like lemons and have a bright and pleasant Meyer lemon taste that doesn’t require it to be taken with meals.Read more
What we liked about this option is that they taste good, so it is something that you will be happy to take each and every morning. While many capsule supplements need to be taken with food, you can pop these tasty little treats at any time throughout the day. Plus, each candy has only 10 calories per serving.
Most gummies do not have a high Vitamin D count per gummy, but this option has a little bit more than most. One serving constitutes just 1 gummy (clocking in at 10 calories) and has 2,000 IU per serving. If you want something that is a little more potent than 2,000 IU, simply pop a second gummy for a double dosage of sunshine!
For those in the market for something that is like sunshine in a bottle, this is a great choice. Users love that is has a bright and happy flavor that doesn’t feel like they are taking a supplement. Plus, it doesn’t use artificial coloring or high fructose corn syrup.
6. Sports Research
Includes coconut oil
Easy to take
Can cause headaches
What we liked most about these Vitamin D supplements from Sports Research is that it is made from quality ingredients that come from trusted and non-GMO sources. Plus, the blend of Vitamin D and other ingredients in this formula have additional health benefits. These extra ingredients help you feel at your best, even when you haven’t seen the sun in months!Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this option is that each capsule has Vitamin D3 that is derived from lanolin. Vitamin D3 is preferred over D2 because it is the same type of vitamin that your body naturally produces when your skin is exposed to the sun. It is also blended with coconut oil, which helps the vitamins absorb into your system more quickly.
One serving consists of one liquid soft gel that should be ideally taken with meals at any time during the day. The great thing about this option from Sports Research is that it contains a powerful 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per capsule. The ingredients on the inside are purely plant-based and non-GMO. However, the gel casing is made from gelatin which means that they are not vegetarian.
If you are in the market for something that is made from all-natural materials as well as coconut oil, we suggest you give this option from Sports Research a try. Users love that it is incredibly easy to take and will not leave an unpleasant aftertaste in your mouth.
7. Garden of Life
Difficult to swallow
Looking for something that offers a little something extra? This vegetarian blend of Vitamin D supplements from Garden of Life has your daily dose of Vitamin D3 with a myriad of extra plant-based ingredients that help with absorption as well as promote gut health as well. If you want more than simple D3, this blend is worth checking out!Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this option is that it packs a powerful punch of 5,000 IU per serving. The Vitamins in this blend come from a host of raw and organic vegetable sources. Vegetables in this blend include nutritional powerhouses such as kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, parsley, blueberries, apples, as well as a host of others.
One of the things that users love about this option is that it doesn’t use any animal or dairy products on the inside or outside of this capsule. One serving consists of 1 capsule that is best taken at mealtime at any point in the day. If you hate swallowing large capsules, it can be snapped in half and dumped into your nutritional morning smoothie.
If you are in the market for something that packs a powerful punch with all-natural and raw vegetables, this is one of your best options. The raw blend of vegetables helps the D3 absorb into your system quickly, as well as provide a good deal of nutrients and probiotics.
Gentle on stomach
Easy to take
Have a sensitive stomach that often gets upset at the mere thought of supplements? BariMelts gives you a powerful dosage of Vitamin D3 that arrives in a capsule that takes it easy on your stomach. It is designed for those recovering from bariatric surgery, so you know that it will be gentle enough for even the most sensitive stomachs!Read more
When you are cutting your dietary intake to get back to your fighting weight it can mean that you may not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals that you need through your food. It is made from 100 percent plant-based ingredients that are great for limited diets.
Users love that you don’t have to swallow any pills with this supplement, and it doesn’t come in a gummy form that could possibly upset your stomach. To take, simply let one capsule dissolve on your tongue. Due to the fact that is is designed for bariatric patients, it also means that you do not need to take this option with food.
For those in the market for something that is a little more gentle on your stomach, this option from BariMelts is worth a look. Users love that it just dissolves on their tongue, and it is flavored with natural apple extract.
100 percent vegan
Difficult to swallow
Looking for something that is 100 percent plant-based? What we loved about this blend from NATURELO is that it is composed of 100 percent plant-based ingredients inside and out. The ingredients in this blend are simple and aren’t weighed down by extra ingredients that you may not want nor need.Read more
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to this blend from NATURELO. Each serving is packed with 2,500 IU of Vitamin D3 that is harvested from lichen. What we loved about this option is that the capsule is made from vegetable cellulose which means that it is free of animal products both inside and out.
While other options out there on the market often give you more than what you need per serving, this option is a little less potent over other options. One serving offers 2,500 IU of vitamin D3. This is about 313 percent of your daily recommended dosage. If you have a sensitive stomach, this lower dosage is a little kinder to your stomach.
For those in the market for something that is simple and not filled with unnecessary additives, preservatives, or other ingredients, this is a really great option. Plus, it is 100 percent vegan which makes it perfect for those on fairly restrictive diets.
10. MaryRuth Organics
Hate the idea of swallowing pills? The great thing about MaryRuth Organics is that it comes as an oil with a dropper. The benefits of a dropper mean that its a cinch to mix into your morning protein smoothie for an added boost of sunshine in the middle of winter. Plus, it also means that you have the option to raise or lower the serving size to cater to your personal needs.Read more
What we liked most about this option from MaryRuth Organics is that it is free of any animal by-products. While most sources of D3 come from lanolin (or sheep’s wool), this option uses lichen. Lichen is a fungus that grows on plants, which means that it is 100 percent plant-based. If you are on a very restrictive diet, this is a great option.
Another thing that users really like about this option is that it comes as a liquid with a dropper for easy application. Simply take it on its own or add it to your morning protein smoothie for a little added kick of sunshine.
For those in the market for something that is composed of simple and ethical ingredients that you can feel good about, this option from MaryRuth Organics is worth checking out. The formula is simple and free of any unwanted additives or dyes, and the dropped makes it easy to control your dosage level.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
At the end of the day, you simply want something that is considered to be effective to get you through the oppressive winter months.
There are various strengths when it comes to different blends, but the good news is that they also provide you with 100 percent of your daily recommended dose. So, how do you know what dosage is the right option for your needs? Below, we have gone into a little bit of detail about the potency of the various brands.
Lower dosage: By lower dosage, we still mean brands that hit the 100 percent or more mark. Many of the lower dosage options provide you with 1,000-2,500 IU per serving. This equates to about 150-300 percent of your daily recommended dosage. Users that opt for a lower dosage typically haven’t been to the doctor to have their Vitamin D levels checked, and just want a little boost to get them through the winter.
Higher dosage: The higher dosage options pack a powerful punch. These options range from about 3,000-5,000 IU per serving. Currently, 5,000 IU serving is the highest option that you can currently buy over the counter. Users that opt for higher dosages are typically those that have been to the doctor to discover that they have Vitamin D deficiencies.
The potency that you select is purely up to you, but be aware that if you go overboard there can be a few unpleasant side effects (that we will talk about a little later). We suggest starting out slowly to see how your body reacts to a lower dosage, and then up the dosage as you see fit. When it comes to Vitamin D, it is better to err on the side of caution!
Ease of Use
Swallowing pills can be a challenge for some, which is why we wanted to include a few options in addition to the traditional capsules.
Various methods of ingestion also make it a little bit easier to control the potency of your dosage. Below, we have gone into a little bit of detail of the various methods you can take your Vitamin D supplements, and the pros and cons of each of the available methods.
Capsule form: For most, capsule form is the most popular method. These capsules are coated in a gel coating that dissolves slowly in your stomach over time. Plus, they are typically packed with some type of oil- sometimes extra virgin olive oil, sometimes coconut oil- to help with absorption.
The downside to capsules is that they are often coated with a gelatin shell, which is isn’t vegetarian. Also, some of the capsules are fairly big and prove to be difficult to swallow. Another downside of capsules is that they need to be taken with a full meal as well.
Gummies: Gummies are growing in popularity because who doesn’t love eating candy? What users love most about gummy candy is that they are sweet and pleasant to take, and they don’t require swallowing any big and bulky pills. Taking supplements can seem like a bit of a chore which means you may forget or intentionally skip one day. With gummy options, you will be eager to pop your daily Vitamin D supplements each and every morning!
Surprisingly, there is a downside to gummy options. First of all, many are not nearly as potent as capsules. You can work around this obstacle by simply eating more than the recommended dosage, but it means you will burn through your bottle a lot faster. Considering that gummy options are a little bit more expensive than basic capsules, this is less than ideal and may cost you in the long run.
When we talk about materials, we are talking about the ingredients found inside each and every bottle.
While the bottle may say that the supplements are simply Vitamin D, a quick check on the back of the bottle may prove that it’s not the case. We wanted to make sure that the products we selected were packed with ingredients that you can feel good about taking.
If you simply want a product that contains Vitamin D and nothing else, there are products out there on the market to fit your needs. NATURELO, for instance, contains a simple Vitamin D3 formula that is made from lichen. Plus, the capsule is even made from vegetables, so it is completely free of animal by-products.
However, brands that pack a little bit more into the supplements are worth checking out. Extra ingredients such as coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil are added to their vitamin blends to help promote proper absorption. Plus, coconut oil has a host of benefits and can even work to lower your cholesterol when taken over time.
When it comes to gummie vitamins, we wanted to make sure that they weren’t packed with added sugars that pack on unnecessary calories. We made sure to select gummy candies that were free from the use of dyes and artificial ingredients. Also, we made sure to steer clear of options that were sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Most of the gummy options that we selected had about 10 calories per serving.
If you have any dietary restrictions, be sure that you read the entirety of the ingredients label! While the active ingredients may be entirely plant-based and free of additives, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. Be sure to also check the ingredients of the capsule (of inactive ingredients in the gummy options). The inactive ingredients may hide animal by-products and preservatives.
It is important that you know exactly what you are putting inside of your body.
We wanted to make sure that we selected products that were made from the highest quality of ingredients- inside and out. If you have any dietary restrictions, it is incredibly important that you read the entirety of the ingredients label. Below, we will get into a little bit of detail regarding things that you need to look out for.
If your diet is completely plant-based, gummy candies may be completely off the table for you! All of the gummy options that we came across contained gelatin. It’s a dark day for vegetarians when they discover that gelatin (the thing that is in most chewy candies) is made from. Gelatin is made by boiling the skin, cartilage, and bones from animals.
Gelatin is also found in the gel of most capsule options. The good news here, however, is there are quite a few capsule options out there on the market that use vegetable cellulose in lieu of gelatin. It is important that you read the entirety of the ingredients label before making your decision!
There are also two methods in which companies extract their Vitamin D3- though lanolin or lichen. Below, we will get into a little bit of detail about the source of each of these options and which may be better for your needs.
Lanolin is a substance that is derived from the wool of sheep. In most cases, the sheep are not harmed when extracting lanolin. Their wool is removed by using sheers, and then the wool is sent-off where the lanolin is extracted from the wool itself. While ethical farming practices may vary from farm to farm, it is difficult to pinpoint brands that use farms that do not harm their livestock.
If you are reluctant to opt for a brand that uses lanolin, lichen is another option that doesn’t come from an animal source. Lichens are basically a fungus that grows on plants. There are some experts that claim that Vitamin D that is derived from this method isn’t as powerful as those that come from sheep, but that claim is slowly being debunked over time.
Side effects are mild but can be present in some cases.
We wanted to make sure that we selected products that have as few side effects as possible. Most side effects occur when users take more than what the need, so it is important to not go overboard.
The most important piece of advice that we could give you is to not go overboard. Users that take supplements that have 5,000 IU are typically those that have been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency from their doctor. It is in your best interest to keep the dosage low and slowly increase it as you see fit.
If your supplements make you feel worse instead of better, lower your dosage or stop taking it altogether. Some common side effects to too much Vitamin D include muscle weakness and fatigue. Other minor side effects include frequent urination, constipation or nausea, and bone pain.
Some of the more serious side effects include things like kidney damage, lung damage, disorientation, rapid heartbeat, dehydration, and weight loss.
These side effects may sound a little scary, but they only occur when you take too much for too long. Your body has a great way of letting you know early on when you take too much. If you start to feel tired and run down, that is a sign that you need to cut back or even stop.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
We talk a lot about the benefits to your bones when adding Vitamin D to your diet, but it also has many benefits to your muscles as well! If you are lifting weights at the gym and you hit a wall, it may be due to low Vitamin D levels. Adding these supplements to your diet can actually help reduce the risk of strains and injuries while training.
To ensure that your Vitamin D levels are top-notch, you cannot simply get it from a singular place. Even if you drink a gallon of milk a day, you are only getting Vitamin D2. To ensure you are getting the full spectrum of this vitamin, you also need to be exposed to direct sunlight- which produces Vitamin D3. This can be a little trick in the winter. That’s why you need to ensure that the supplements that you select contain Vitamin D3 to make it through those dreary and cold months!
If winter wasn’t unforgiving enough with its overcast days and blistering cold temperatures- it is also the time of year when everyone gets sick! With a healthy dose of Vitamin D every day, you can bolster your immune system so that it can dutifully fight off that head cold that seems to just endlessly circulate around the office!
Other Factors to Consider
Vitamin D is tricky. With most vitamins and minerals, it is easy to ensure that you are getting the right amount if you maintain a healthy diet. This is true with Vitamin D, but only partially. While ensuring that you eat foods naturally rich in Vitamin D2 is helpful, it is only half of the equation.
To ensure you get the full benefits of Vitamin D, you also need to produce Vitamin D3. This occurs when your skin is exposed to natural sunlight. This typically isn’t an issue when the sun is shining in the middle of the summer, but it is harder to do in the winter. No one wants to stand outside in the cold for their vitamins!
That’s why these supplements are so important. Maintaining high Vitamin D levels ensures that your bones are healthy so that you can take a few punches, and it also helps to bolster your mood to get you through those dark and dreary January days!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do I need Vitamin D supplements?
When Vitamin D is low in your system, it can affect your health in some pretty negative ways. Vitamin D helps your bones absorb calcium from the food that you eat. If your reserves are low, it leads to brittle bones and increases the risk of fractures- even if you are drinking enough milk!
Vitamin D is found in unpastured milk but disappears when it becomes pasteurized. That’s why you may see on many milk cartons that milk has been fortified with Vitamin D. Calcium without adequate amounts of Vitamin D simply wash away in your system.
Users that are on a purely plant-based diet are likely not getting all of the added benefits from Vitamin D as well as calcium. This means that the next time you are sparring with a partner, you are more likely to suffer fractures in your bones because they are weaker.
This vitamin is also produced by your skin when exposed to sunlight. When the sun goes into hibernation for the winter, you have lost another important source for your vitamins!
q: Are Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 and D2 the same thing?
Yes! We know, it sounds a little confusing. The classifications of vitamins can be a little frustrating to keep straight. For instance, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 serve very different functions. The good news here is that Vitamin D3 and D2 are under the umbrella of Vitamin D.
The reason there are two subsets of this vitamin are that they are derived from different methods. There are two sources of vitamin D- those that come from sunlight and those the come from the food we eat. Vitamin D2 is what is present in most of the food that we eat such as fortified cereals and dairy products. Vitamin D3 is produced by your body when exposed to sunlight.
There are some studies out there that indicate that Vitamin D3 is more beneficial to your health over D2, which is why most supplements on the market are classified as D3. This form of Vitamin D occurs when your skin is exposed to sunlight, which makes it a little more difficult to obtain in those cloudy and cold winter months.
While both versions are fundamental to your bone and mental health, Vitamin D3 is the better choice because it is more difficult to add into your diet with food alone.
q: Are there any side effects?
As with any supplement, there are a few side effects. The good news here is that side effects often occur when you have too much Vitamin D in your system. If you maintain a healthy balance and do no go overboard, it is unlikely that you will have to deal with any of these side effects.
If there is too much Vitamin D in your system, symptoms include bone pain, fatigue, nausea or constipation, headaches, fatigue, and dehydration. These symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that you are going a little overboard.
If you experience any of these side effects, is it important that you pull back on the reigns immediately. If you ignore these very present side effects and continue taking this supplement, you could experience a rapid heart rate, confusion, lung damage, and kidney damage.
When starting a new supplement regime, we suggest starting slowly at first. Sure, the package indicates that one serving may have 5,000 IU, but that doesn’t mean that you have to take that much. Start with 1,000, and slowly increase your intake until you start to see positive results in your body and in your mood.
As with any type of supplement, if you have any concerns it is important to bring them to your doctor before taking them. Your doctor will let you know if it is in your best interest to start this supplement regimen.
q: How do I know if they are vegan?
There is one word that you need to keep a lookout for gelatin. Many users don’t realize this, but gelatin is actually made out of animal by-products. Gelatin is produced by boiling all of the inedible bits of cows to create a clear, tasteless, and odorless substance. Gelatin can be found in all gummy candies and some capsule designs.
If you are strictly vegetarian, gummy options may be completely off of the table. There were no brands that we found that opted for plant-based alternatives in their ingredients labels. While most capsule options use gelatin, there are some brands out there on the market that opt for vegetable cellulose. NATURELO, for instance, is made up of 100 percent plant-based products without the use of gelatin.
q: Can’t I just get Vitamin D through the dairy products that I eat?
While it is true that there is Vitamin D in many of the foods that you eat on a daily basis, it may not be enough. As we mentioned above, there are two different types of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 is what is found in your milk that you pour over your cereal for breakfast. While this has positive health effects by helping your body absorb calcium, it may not be enough.
The truth is, Vitamin D3 is not found in the food that you eat. Experts believe that Vitamin D3 is the most beneficial subset of this vitamin to promote excellent calcium production as well as maintain a good mood. Everyone gets a little down in the dumps in the middle of winter, and some of that mood can be attributed to limited amounts of D3.
That’s why it is so important to add a dosage of Vitamin D supplements to your daily routine so that you can stay on top of, even in the middle of a snow storm!