The 7 Best Vitamin D Supplements For Immunity, Bone Health & More In 2023*
Vitamin D is a big topic right now.
And considering an alarming 41% of American adults1 meet the criteria for insufficiency (meaning they have levels lower than 30 ng/ml) and approximately 92% of men and more than 97% of women aren't even getting 400 IU2 of this essential fat-soluble vitamin from their daily diet, it's well-deserving of the attention.
Given how tricky 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.
Quick list: The best vitamin D supplements
Quick list: The best vitamin D supplements
The benefits of a vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D is crucial for whole-body health, interacting with the musculoskeletal, immune, neurological, thyroid, gastrointestinal, renal, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems3, among others.*
A few of vitamin D's noteworthy roles, in particular, that are worth calling out:
- It helps regulate the production of thyroid hormones4.*
- During pregnancy, it promotes better maternal and infant outcomes5 related to bone density, immune function, fetal growth, maternal metabolic health, and more.*
- It supports immunity, promoting white blood cell function6, helping the immune system adapt to and ward off threats7, and more.*
- It does your gut good by playing a key role in the health and integrity of the gut mucosal lining8.*
- It helps the body absorb and maintain the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus9, which are both crucial for bone health.*
RELATED STORY: 5 Important Health Benefits Of Vitamin D
How we chose
Purity is a sign of quality, so we looked for vitamin D supplements that are free of binders, preservatives, and artificial colors or flavors.
While these supplements all feature vitamin D, some stack it with other active ingredients for added benefits like immune and gut support and healthier bones.*
If you're taking a supplement daily, you'll want to make sure it's easy to work into your routine. For this reason, we feature a variety of different supplement formats, from capsules and tablets to gummies and chewable tablets.
We included vitamin D supplement brands and products that prioritize quality. This includes robust manufacturing practices and comprehensive purity and potency testing.
RELATED STORY: How To Optimize Vitamin D Levels Using Supplements
mbg's picks for the best vitamin D supplements of 2023
Best overall: mindbodygreen vitamin D3 potency+
- High-potency organic algal vitamin D3 source
- Trio of organic oils for built-in absorption technology
- Supports bone, teeth, muscle, & immune health*
- Sustainable algal source
- Sustainable packaging
- Not vegan
Dietary:Gluten-freeDairy-freeSoy-freeNon-GMOMajor food allergen-free
Dose:1 gelcap daily
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).*
Plus, save money when you sign up for a mindbodygreen vitamin D3 potency+ subscription ($25/month), or buy once for $30. New customers save 10% on their first order with promo code MBG10.
What our reviewers say:
"You can take vitamin D3 potency+ anytime and anywhere. My latest 25(OH)D blood test result was > 50 ng/ml, and I'm personally thrilled about all of the people who will join me in the vitamin D sufficient club, thanks to mindbodygreen's vitamin D3 potency+."* — Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
Read Ashley's full review here.
Best vegan: Truvani Vitamin D3 from Organic Lichens
- USDA certified organic
- Dissolvable in liquid
- Lichen source lacks sustainability
Dietary:Gluten-freeDairy-freeSoy-freeNon-GMOVeganUSDA certified organic
Dose:1 tablet daily
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
- Chewable delivery format
- Mint flavor
- Clinically useful dose
- Contains sugar alcohols
- Long list of “other ingredients"
Dietary:Gluten-freeDairy-freeSoy-freeEgg-freeNut-freeCertified KosherCertified Halal
Dose:1 softgel daily
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 liquid for babies: Nordic Naturals Baby's Vitamin D3
- Ideal format for infants
- Supports baby’s daily vitamin D needs
- Can be added to breast milk, baby food, etc.
- Unclear how many servings provided per bottle
Dose:1 drop (0.03 mL) daily
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
- Plant-based formula
- Two essential fat-soluble vitamins in one formula
- Contains coconut oil, which may not be suitable for those with a nut allergy
- Lichen source lacks sustainability
- Plastic packaging
Dose:1 softgel daily
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
- Features brewer’s yeast
- Botanical and herb blend
- Long list of “other ingredients”
- Not vegan
Dietary:Gluten-freeDairy-freeCertified KosherVegetarianCertified B corporation
Dose:1 tablet daily
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
- Formulated for vitamin D deficiency
- Available in 60 or 120 capsules
- Short ingredient list
- Not vegan
- Plastic bottle
Dose:1 capsule daily
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.
Here are a few must-have criteria when searching for a vitamin D supplement, according to mbg vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN:
- 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).
How much vitamin D do you need?
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)*
Frequently Asked Questions
Are vitamin D supplements good for you?
Yes. While all nutrients play a crucial, symbiotic role in maintaining health, vitamin D is especially important as this fat-soluble micronutrient is essential for nearly every single bodily system and function including, but not limited to, the musculoskeletal, immune, neurological, thyroid, gastrointestinal, renal, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems.* Since foods deliver very little vitamin D, and relying on sun exposure for everyday vitamin D sufficiency is unreliable (and comes with risks), a high-quality vitamin D supplement is a critical and science-backed approach to achieve and maintain healthy vitamin D levels throughout life.*
What is the best form of vitamin D to take?
Vitamin D3 is the body's preferred form of vitamin D. It has superior bioefficacy, bioactivity, and stability, compared to the other form of vitamin D: vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 also increases serum 25(OH)D levels, your body’s status biomarker, to a greater extent and maintains these higher levels longer than vitamin D2, even though both forms are well absorbed in the gut. D2 is significantly less effective because of the structural differences that affect the way the body metabolizes the vitamin. Vitamin D2 also has increased catabolism (i.e., it's broken down, or metabolized, more quickly) and its metabolites have weaker binding affinity to the vitamin-D-binding protein (i.e., the major vitamin D transport protein that carries the nutrient to the rest of the body to confer all those wonderful health benefits we highlighted before). Overall, if you're looking to increase your vitamin D levels and experience the myriad benefits of sufficient D status, vitamin D3 is the way to go.*
Is it good to take vitamin D supplements every day?
Yes, vitamin D is one of the four essential fat-soluble vitamins our cells, tissues, and entire body requires daily. We need to receive this micronutrient in adequate amounts daily to positively impact vitamin D status (i.e., measured via serum total 25(OH)D) in a meaningful way and thus, reap the myriad of health benefits that come along with it. And while you can receive small amounts of vitamin D from consuming certain foods and variable amounts from UV exposure (i.e., in certain places during certain times of the year), you can’t eat or sun your way to daily vitamin D sufficiency.
What are the signs or clues of low vitamin D?
Some common signs of vitamin D deficiency can include suboptimal bone health, low mood, less immune resilience, and even brain fog. However, because vitamin D’s role in the body is so ubiquitous, insufficiency may manifest in different ways for different people. The most obvious clue that you have low vitamin D is a low blood test result for serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D, aka 25(OH)D. Vitamin D insufficiency is a 25(OH)D result of less than 30 ng/mL, while the science and experts indicate a healthy vitamin D blood level is 50 ng/mL or higher.
What makes a good vitamin D supplement?
Many vitamin D supplements feature sub-efficacious doses (i.e., below 5,000 IU), inadequate forms (i.e., vitamin D2 rather than D3), and don't optimize absorption by including fats or encouraging fat consumption (i.e., around a meal) to increase bioavailability. Thus, a vitamin D supplement worth your investment features vitamin D3 (the superior form) instead of D2. In a stand-alone supplement (i.e., not a multivitamin), a good vitamin D supplement will deliver an efficacious dose (5,000 IU for adults) of the vitamin and sometimes even include healthy fats for optimal absorption. Sustainable sources of vitamin D like organic algae earn bonus points.
What time should I take vitamin D?
When you take your vitamin D supplement is really up to you. As long as your supplement contains fat or you consume it around the time of a meal with some fat, you've got plenty of flexibility. To stay consistent, though, try tying your vitamin D supplement to some other part of your routine that happens daily, like drinking your morning coffee or brushing your teeth. If your vitamin D supplement doesn't contain built-in oils for optimal absorption, try tying it to your breakfast (and just make sure you've got some healthy fat like avocado or olive oil in there).* If lunch or dinner works better for your D ritual, go for it!
Which form of vitamin D is best absorbed?
D3 is the body's preferred form of vitamin D. It's produced in the body naturally and is more efficient at increasing and maintaining healthy blood levels. In fact, compared to vitamin D2, vitamin D3 has superior bioefficacy, bioactivity, and stability. Taking 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily paired with a fat (for optimal absorption) is the best option.
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.
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