Why You Should Take Vitamin D With A Source Of Fat (Ideally Organic Oils)
Some fun facts about vitamin D: It's a vitamin, hormone, and immunomodulator; it's essential for nearly every single bodily function; and it's one of the most common nutrient gaps and deficiencies in the U.S. (OK, maybe that last one isn't so fun.)
Another fun fact: You should consume vitamin D with healthy fats to get the most bang for your buck out of this fat-soluble nutrient.* In a way, these fats act as an envelope for that precious vitamin D cargo, ensuring it gets to its final destination in your body. But, alas, not all fats are created equal, so we tapped experts on exactly what to look for in the fats you'll want to down alongside your vitamin D.
Why you should take vitamin D with a source of fat.
"Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires a source of fat for best absorption," notes registered dietitian nutritionist and mbg Collective member Maya Feller, M.S., R.D., CDN. "Research has shown that vitamin D is significantly better absorbed (32% better) into the bloodstream when eaten with a source of fat1, as opposed to with a fat-free meal."
That's why experts often recommend you take vitamin D supplements with food. Most supplements themselves don't provide the fat needed for absorption, but, chances are, your snacks and meals contain some sort of fat that'll get the job done. "Generally speaking, nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy fats, and if you eat seafood, oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines provide important healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids," says registered dietitian Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN.
Why fats from a meal can be limiting.
Relying on food for your fats to absorb your D supplement is fine, but some health experts prefer another approach. Resident nutritionist and mbg's director of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, explains that, "Banking on a meal for your fats limits you in terms of time, space, and variability of fat content and quality."
She goes on to say that she prefers more consistency with the types of fats, plus "temporal and spatial freedom when taking my vitamin D supplement."
Plus, not all fats are created equal.
Whether you manage to find a vitamin D supplement that does include fats or you decide to swallow your supplement alongside your breakfast, the type of fat you ingest alongside it does matter. "I recommend prioritizing unsaturated fatty acids, especially monounsaturated fats from sources like olives and olive oil, avocado and avocado oil, and most nuts and seeds," notes Cording. (These plant-based fats have long been lauded for their health benefits.)
While there's still some ongoing back-and-forth among the scientific community about which types of fats1 are truly the best for supporting vitamin D absorption, it's not something to get hung up on, Feller says. "Since the jury is still out on a definitive answer, it's best to think holistically and focus on plant-based fat sources that are also beneficial in terms of cardiovascular health." Think avocado and EVOO.
That's exactly why we included a trio of organic, virgin oils (avocado, flaxseed, and extra-virgin olive) in our vitamin D3 potency+ formula. Not only do they help chauffeur that vitamin D so it's best absorbed by the body, but they're also chock-full of unsaturated omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids (over 400 milligrams in each gelcap!) and offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help support metabolic health.*
Ferira adds, "What's more, we know from clinical research2 that an oil vehicle, like that delivered via a gelcap or softgel, is superior to traditional tablet and capsule delivery formats in terms of ultimate impact on your vitamin D status, that is, raising your serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, which is what vitamin D supplementation is all about."*
It's rare enough to find a vitamin D3 supplement that includes fats in its formula—and to snag one in this premiere vehicle (gelcap) with carefully curated organic oils that deliver healthy omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids? That's practically folklore (well, at least until now).*
If you're taking vitamin D in an effort to support your health and well-being, why not ensure that the fats you consume alongside it also contribute, right?
Vitamin D, an essential fat-soluble nutrient, should be paired with fat to be best absorbed in the body. Making that happen is as easy as taking your supplement with your breakfast, but it's important to choose the fats in your meal wisely to best support your health. Experts recommend opting for plant-based unsaturated fats like avocados, olives, and seeds in organic varieties if possible.
mindbodygreen formulated vitamin D3 potency+ with organic oils from healthy sources so that you can take it—and reap the vitamin D benefits—with or without a meal, at your leisure.*
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.