A quick look at the best vitamin D supplements
- Best high dose: Pure Encapsulations D3 10,000 IU, NOW Foods D3 10,000 IU
- Best vegan: Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 (Vegan) Liquid, HUM Nutrition Here Comes the Sun
- Best gummies: Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Vitamin D3 Gummies 1,000 IU
- Best drops: Thorne Vitamin D/K2
- Best liquid: Designs for Health Liposomal D Supreme
- Best chewable: NOW Foods Chewable Vitamin D3 5,000 IU
- Best prenatal with vitamin D: Ritual Prenatal Multivitamin
- Best subscription service: Care/Of, Persona Vitamin D â€“ Vegan â€“ 1000 IU
- Best for kids: Carlson Labs Kidâ€™s Super Daily D3 + K2
- Best for infants: Nordic Naturals Babyâ€™s Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin involved in several critical bodily processes, including calcium and phosphorus absorption, bone health, and muscle growth and development (1).
Also sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced naturally by skin cells in response to sun exposure (2).
Furthermore, vitamin D is found naturally in very few food sources, making it difficult to ensure that youâ€™re meeting your needs through diet alone (5).
As such, many people may wish to take a vitamin D supplement, especially if they donâ€™t regularly get sun exposure or consume foods fortified with vitamin D.
As buying supplements can be confusing and overwhelming, we rounded up the best vitamin D supplements based on the following criteria:
- Vetting. All the products included have been vetted to ensure that they meet ishonestâ€™s medical and business standards.
- Effectiveness. The products listed below contain vitamin D3 for optimal absorption.
- Ingredients. We looked for supplements that are free of unnecessary ingredients like fillers, artificial sweeteners, or colors.
- Dietitian-recommended. All of the products listed below were handpicked by a registered dietitian.
Here are 13 of the best vitamin D supplements for 2022.
How to choose a vitamin D supplement
Before you decide on a vitamin D supplement, itâ€™s a good idea to get your levels tested. A blood test is the only way to know whether your levels are deficient, insufficient, sufficient, or optimal.
Your healthcare professional can order blood work and help you determine an appropriate dosage.
Keep in mind that if youâ€™re severely deficient in vitamin D, your healthcare provider may recommend high-dose supplements or injections for a certain period, followed by a daily maintenance dose.
When shopping for vitamin D supplements, itâ€™s important to pay attention to ingredient labels. Many products, especially liquids, gummies, and chewables, pack added sugars and artificial flavorings and colors.
You should also consider whether a supplement contains ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) or cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). While both forms can increase levels of vitamin D effectively, vitamin D3 can increase levels higher and for longer (5).
Additionally, you should check for third-party certification from a group like U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) or ConsumerLab.
Keep in mind that both Persona and Care/of only offer vitamin D3 supplements that provide 1,000 IU per capsule.
Even though this dose may be appropriate for people who want to maintain already optimal vitamin D levels, those with low or deficient vitamin D levels typically require a much higher dose to increase their vitamin D blood level to an optimal level (4).
ishonestâ€™s picks of the best vitamin D supplements
Pure Encapsulations D3 10,000 IU
- Dose: 1 capsule contains 10,000 IU of vitamin D3
- Price: $$
For people with a severe vitamin D deficiency, taking a high-dose supplement is necessary, though itâ€™s important to consult a healthcare professional for a personalized dosage recommendation (3).Taking at least 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily is often recommended for people who have been diagnosed with a deficiency. This may be followed by a maintenance dose of up to 6,000 IU once levels normalize (3).
These capsules contain 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 per serving and are hypoallergenic, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
Pure Encapsulations is also a trusted brand thatâ€™s certified by United States Pharmacopeia (USP), which sets strict, product-specific standards for supplements.
NOW Foods D3 10,000 IU
NOW Foods is another excellent supplement brand that makes high-dose vitamin D supplements.
This specific product provides 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 in each softgel capsule.
Itâ€™s also non-GMO, kosher, and free of dairy, eggs, sugar, soy, and corn.
Just keep in mind that while this product is appropriate for some people, itâ€™s important to check with a healthcare professional before taking high-dose vitamin D supplements.
Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 (Vegan) Liquid
Many vitamin D3 supplements are derived from fish or sheepâ€™s wool, making them inappropriate for vegans (6).
As a result, many vegan products contain ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) â€” a form of vitamin D thatâ€™s vegan since itâ€™s derived from yeast or mushrooms.
However, research shows that D2 isnâ€™t as effective at raising your blood levels as D3 (7).
Recently, companies have found a way to manufacture vegan-friendly vitamin D3.
Pure Encapsulations, for example, offers a liquid D3 product thatâ€™s derived from sustainably harvested lichen.
Itâ€™s not only vegan but also free of gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and artificial colors or flavors.
Whatâ€™s more, Pure Encapsulations thoroughly tests all products and manufactures supplements in a facility that exceeds the standards set by USP.
HUM Nutrition Here Comes the Sun
HUM Nutrition is a company that offers high quality supplements and personalized nutrition advice from its in-house team of registered dietitians.
This high potency softgel supplement contains vitamin D3 derived from lichen, making it a great option for vegans and vegetarians.
Itâ€™s also non-GMO, gluten-free, and made without any artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Plus, HUM Nutrition products are sustainably sourced, triple-tested for purity, and evaluated for potency by third-party labs.
Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Vitamin D3 Gummies 1,000 IU
Gummy vitamins are popular among adults and kids alike. Although theyâ€™re fun to chew, most contain added sugar.
If youâ€™re trying to reduce your sugar intake, opt for Nordic Naturalsâ€™ sugar- free vitamin D3 gummy, which is sweetened with xylitol and colored with fruit and vegetable juice.
In addition to being vegetarian and non-GMO, itâ€™s third-party tested for purity.
Plus, Nordic Naturals provides a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for every supplement, which is a document that confirms that a product meets its required specifications. Also, keep in mind that sugar alcohols like xylitol may cause some people to experience digestive issues, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Thorne Vitamin D/K2
Thorne is a trusted supplement brand certified by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), a regulatory agency run by the Australian Department of Health.
Thorneâ€™s liquid vitamin D supplement also provides vitamin K2, which works synergistically with vitamin D and is necessary for heart and skeletal health (8).
Thorne products are manufactured in a facility thatâ€™s certified by NSF International and undergo four rounds of testing in the companyâ€™s in-house laboratories.
This supplement is also free of soy, gluten, and dairy and made without any artificial flavors or additives.
Designs for Health Liposomal D Supreme
Designs for Healthâ€™s Liposomal Vitamin D Supreme liquid drops combine vitamin D with vitamins K1 and K2.
Liposomes are tiny spheres of fat used as carriers for vitamin D and other fat- soluble nutrients in certain supplements (9).
Interestingly, liposomal forms of this vitamin have been shown to be better absorbed than tablet forms of vitamin D supplements (9).
Vitamins K and D work synergistically in your body, meaning that they enhance each otherâ€™s effects. Some research indicates that taking both may promote bone and heart health to a greater extent than taking vitamin D alone (10).
In addition to being free of dairy, gluten, and GMOs, Designs for Health supplements are produced in a facility that complies with the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
NOW Foods Chewable Vitamin D3 5,000 IU
Some people prefer chewable vitamins over capsules, liquids, gummies, and pills. Yet, many chewables contain added sugar.
Unlike other chewable vitamin D supplements, NOWâ€™s Chewable Vitamin D3 5,000 IU is sweetened with the sugar alcohols xylitol and sorbitol, as well as natural vanilla and peppermint flavors.
This product is also kosher, soy-free, and gluten-free. NOW Foods also adheres to good manufacturing practices and tests products in-house for purity and safety.Again, keep in mind that sugar alcohols can cause digestive problems, such as stomach upset and diarrhea, especially when consumed in large amounts. Also, this supplement is held together with cellulose, making it less absorbable than oil-based capsules.
Ritual Prenatal Multivitamin
Itâ€™s recommended that pregnant women supplement with 600 IU of vitamin D3 per day, though some research suggests that higher doses may support better maternal and infant outcomes (11).
In fact, experts suggest that to maintain blood levels of this nutrient, which may help protect against pregnancy-related complications, pregnant women should take up to 4,000 IU of D3 per day (11, 12).
Breastfeeding women may need even more. Some studies indicate that a daily dose of 6,400 IU promotes optimal vitamin D levels in both breastfeeding mothers and breastfed infants, though itâ€™s best to consult a healthcare professional for a personalized recommendation (13).
Nonetheless, most prenatal supplements contain only 400â€“1,000 IU of this vitamin per dose.
Ritual is a subscription-based company that offers a prenatal vitamin with 2,000 IU of vitamin D per dose, along with other necessary nutrients for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Ritual provides detailed information on ingredient sourcing and uses a third- party lab to test each product twice for contaminants.
These prenatal capsules are also vegan, non-GMO, and free of major allergens, artificial colors, and fillers.
Care/of is a subscription-based vitamin company that offers a variety of supplements to consumers looking for a convenient way to fill their nutrient gaps.
Care/of delivers personalized supplements monthly right to your door.
You take an online quiz that asks questions about your diet and lifestyle, and based on the results, Care/of suggests specific nutrients that may benefit your health.
Care/of offers two vitamin D products â€” The Sunny D3 and The Vegan Sunny D3.
Both products contain 1,000 IU per capsule. The vegan supplement contains vitamin D3 sourced from algae, meaning itâ€™s safe for those following a vegan diet.
Additionally, Care/of sources ingredients from trusted suppliers around the globe and conducts three rounds of testing throughout the manufacturing process to ensure safety and quality.
Persona Vitamin D â€“ Vegan â€“ 1000 IU
Persona Nutrition is another subscription-based company that offers personalized supplements to consumers based on an assessment quiz that asks questions about their diet and lifestyle.
Persona Nutrition customers get personalized vitamin packs delivered to their door monthly.
The company offers several vitamin-D-based products, including its Vitamin D â€“ Vegan â€“ 1000 IU softgel capsules.
This supplement contains a vegan-friendly form of D3 called VitashineÂ®, which is derived from plant-like organisms known as lichens.
In addition to being vegan, itâ€™s made without many common allergens, including wheat, fish, soy, peanuts, gluten, and corn.
Persona Nutrition also notes that all products are tested for purity at each stage of production. However, it doesnâ€™t mention whether products also undergo third-party testing by an independent lab.
Carlson Labs Kidâ€™s Super Daily D3 + K2
Vitamin D is necessary for children as well as adults (9).
Plus, some children may be at risk of a deficiency, particularly those who take epilepsy medication or have absorption issues (14, 15).
Still, some childrenâ€™s vitamin supplements contain added sugar to increase palatability.
Carlson Labsâ€™ Kidâ€™s Super Daily D3 + K2 liquid drops only contain D3, vitamin K2, and medium-chain triglycerides as the carrier oil, making it a healthier choice for your child.
While itâ€™s vegetarian, dairy-free, and certified non-GMO by the International GMO Evaluation and Notification (IGEN) program, Carlson Labs doesnâ€™t specify whether products undergo any other third-party testing.
Nordic Naturals Babyâ€™s Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is essential for proper bone development in babies (16).
As breastmilk contains inadequate amounts of vitamin D, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfed and partially breastfed infants receive 400 IU of vitamin D per day (16).
Nordic Naturals Babyâ€™s Vitamin D3 is one of the best options, as it contains 400 IU of vitamin D3 per drop.
The supplement is also free of artificial additives, with certified organic olive oil as the only other ingredient.
Whatâ€™s more, the supplement is easy to use, as the oil can be applied to the nipple while breastfeeding, mixed into a bottle of pumped breastmilk, or dropped directly into an infantâ€™s mouth.
Frequently asked questions
Are vitamin D supplements necessary?
If you have a vitamin D deficiency, taking a supplement may be beneficial.
Many people are at a higher risk of deficiency, including older adults, those with darker skin, people with certain health conditions, and individuals who donâ€™t regularly get sun exposure (4).
If you suspect that you may have a vitamin D deficiency, itâ€™s best to talk with your doctor to check your levels and determine whether a vitamin D supplement is necessary.
What is the best form of vitamin D to take?
Vitamin D supplements are available in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
Both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 can increase blood levels of vitamin D.
However, vitamin D3 can increase vitamin D levels higher and for longer than vitamin D2, which may make it a better option (5).
Is it good to take vitamin D supplements every day?
Because vitamin D can be stored in the bodyâ€™s fat cells and released if needed, some high-dose vitamin D supplements or injections are designed to be taken just once per week or month instead of daily (2, 17).
However, taking large amounts of any supplement can be dangerous, and high- dose monthly or weekly vitamin D supplements should only be taken under medical supervision.
Therefore, itâ€™s best to check with your doctor before using vitamin D supplements and only take vitamin D as directed.
What are the signs and symptoms of low vitamin D status?
In adults, low vitamin D status can cause symptoms, such as (4):
- increased risk of osteoporosis, falls, and fractures
- muscle twitching
- mood changes
- muscle or bone pain
- joint stiffness
For children, potential symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include (4):
- developmental delay
- bone changes
- bone fractures
Keep in mind that in some cases, vitamin D deficiency may not cause any symptoms, which can make it difficult to diagnose without a blood test (4).
The bottom line
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that plays many critical roles in your body. As many people are deficient in this vitamin, supplements are sometimes needed to maintain optimal levels.
The products above are among the best vitamin D supplements on the market and suit a wide variety of needs.
Before taking any new supplements, itâ€™s important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine whether â€” and how much â€” you need to supplement with.