The 7 Best Vitamin D Supplements of 2020, According to a Dietitian

Help maintain strong bones with this sunshine in a bottle formula

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Our Top Picks

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 at Amazon

"Provides 1,000 IU in a small capsule form."

NatureWise at Amazon

"A great option for anyone looking to improve their Vitamin D levels without taking a supplement daily."

Caltrate at Amazon

"Caltrate combines Vitamin D3 with 600 mg of calcium making this product a great choice for bone health."

Solgar at Amazon

"For those who do not have a Vitamin D deficiency but want to supplement a wholesome diet and lifestyle that includes the outdoors."

Megafood at Amazon

"Combines the Vitamin D3 with extracts from whole foods such as broccoli leaf, brown rice, parsley, carrot, and beetroot."

Nature Made Vitamin D3 at Amazon

"Budget-friendly D3 supplement that ranks highest in quality."

Country Life Vitamin D3 at Amazon

"Each Non-GMO softgel contains 2,500 IU of vitamin D3 from lanolin, a vegetarian, sustainable, and safe source."

Although we call Vitamin D a vitamin, it really is not a vitamin at all. Vitamins are substances that the body needs in small amounts from food because we cannot synthesize them on our own. Vitamin D differs from other vitamins because we can make it following exposure to sunlight. Interacting with more than 30 different tissues in the body and affecting more than 1,000 genes. Vitamin D is important for many body processes, not just maintaining bone health. Immune function, muscle strength, disease prevention, and mood stability are all affected by Vitamin D.

Unfortunately, Vitamin D intake is widely insufficient throughout the United States. Low Vitamin D intake can be caused by poor diet, lack of sun exposure and/or malabsorption issues. It is important to note that in order to maximize the use of the following supplements, these products should be taken with meals to support adequate absorption.

Here are the best Vitamin D supplements for your dietary needs.

Our Top Picks

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3

Nordic Naturals D3 1,000 IU is an excellent product that is budget-friendly, non-GMO, third-party tested, gluten and additive-free. Nordic Naturals is frequently listed on sites such as Labdoor as a trusted brand. Consumers note that they find ease taking them because of the small, gel capsules.

NatureWise

Though there are some concerns that too much vitamin D can be bad for your health, some believe that more is better. NatureWise Vitamin D3 5,000 IU is a great option for anyone looking to improve their Vitamin D levels without taking a supplement daily. Unlike a dose of 1,000 or 2,000 IU that can be taken every day, a higher dose of 5,000 IU could be taken every other day or a few times per week which is nice for anyone who may have trouble with supplement compliance.

Naturewise boosts the efficacy of each capsule by combining organic extra-virgin olive oil with the D3 to support absorption. Non-GMO and gluten-free, Naturwise also claims to use third-party laboratories to test their products for quality assurance. 

Caltrate

Calcium and vitamin D go hand-in-hand when it comes to supporting healthy bones, as vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which is vital for healthy bones. So, the fact that the two are combined into one tablet makes sense. Beyond bones, this combo may also help promote healthy nerves, hormones, and teeth.

Caltrate combines vitamin D3 with 600 mg of calcium making this product a great choice for bone health. Calcium and vitamin D work closely together so taking both in one supplement is a smart and effective choice. More than half of American women don’t get enough calcium, and this is a convenient way to make sure you do. If you are someone who consumes dairy 3-4 times per day and takes a multivitamin, you may be consuming too much calcium with this supplement. It is important to note that the upper tolerable level (UL) for calcium is 2,000-2,500 mg per day for adults 19-50 and over 50 years old respectively.

Good to Know

If taking multiple supplements, it is always important to add up the amounts of a single nutrient across products, take an inventory of your diet and check with a health professional to make sure you not consuming too much of one thing. 

Solgar

Solgar has been in the dietary supplement industry for over 70 years. As a trusted source for supplements that are free of harmful additives and common allergens, Solgar’s vitamin D3 1000 IU is a fabulous option for those who do not have a vitamin D deficiency but just want to supplement a wholesome diet and lifestyle that includes the outdoors.

A meta-analysis of clinical trials published in the British Journal of Medicine in 2009 found that taking 700-1000 IU per day of vitamin D3 lowered the risk of falls among older individuals by 19%.

Megafood

Megafood is one of the most trusted brands in the supplement industry because of its commitment to transparency. Consumers can head to Megafood’s website and observe product production live 24/7. In order to establish maximum efficacy of this supplement, Megafood combines the vitamin D3 with extracts from whole foods such as broccoli leaf, brown rice, parsley, carrot, and beetroot to supply the necessary cofactors that support D3 absorption. 

Nature Made Vitamin D3

If you're looking for a budget-friendly D3 supplement that ranks highest in quality, Nature Made is an excellent choice. The USP-Verified supplement is trusted for its potency and dependable quality, and as a brand, Nature Made is known for creating affordable and effective vitamins. Each easy-to-swallow softgel contains 2,000 IU of highly bioavailable vitamin D3.

Research suggests that vitamin D supports the innate immune system, or body's first line of defense against pathogens. Adding a supplement like Nature Made's D3 may help to support your immunity.

Country Life Vitamin D3

If you're searching for the best gluten-free Vitamin D supplement, Country Life vitamin D3 is a top pick. The Certified Gluten-Free supplement is also free of yeast, corn, wheat, soy, milk, salt, sugar, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Each Non-GMO softgel contains 2,500 IU of vitamin D3 from lanolin, a vegetarian, sustainable, and safe source.

Choosing Country Life vitamin D3 promotes optimal bone health and the health of the planet. The vitamins are manufactured with renewable energy and meet the standards for FDA GMP's standards.

What to Look for in a Vitamin D Supplement

Form: Supplemental vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). They differ in chemistry, but also in manufacturing. Supplement forms of D2 are derived from plant-based yeast whereas supplemental D3 is usually made from animal-sourced lanolin.

Dose: The RDA for vitamin D for adults and children aged 1-70 years is 600 IU. There is an Upper Limit of 4,000 IU for adults over the age of 19. Always speak with your physician regarding whether you need a vitamin D supplement and what dose is best.

Other Ingredients: Some vitamin D supplements contain calcium or other complementary ingredients. Always read the label to check what is in the supplement and consider all the supplements and medications you take. Speak with a physician to ensure you not exceeding a recommended dose.

What Experts Say

"While vitamin D supplementation may be necessary for some during winter or times when there is minimal sun exposure, the body naturally makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Regular exposure of about 15 minutes (without sunscreen) to midday sunlight a few times a week may be adequate to maintain optimal vitamin D levels. There are also many food sources of vitamin D such as fatty fish, mushrooms, eggs, cheese, and fortified milk." Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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Article Sources
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  1. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated March 24, 2020.

  2. Marcinowska-Suchowierska E, Kupisz-Urbańska M, Łukaszkiewicz J, Płudowski P, Jones G. Vitamin D Toxicity-A Clinical Perspective. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2018;9:550. doi:10.3389/fendo.2018.00550

  3. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Get Enough Calcium. Updated May 13, 2020.

  4. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Calcium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated March 26, 2020.

  5. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Dawson-Hughes B, Staehelin HB, et al. Fall prevention with supplemental and active forms of vitamin D: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2009;339:b3692. doi:10.1136/bmj.b3692

  6. Sassi F, Tamone C, D'Amelio P. Vitamin D: Nutrient, Hormone, and ImmunomodulatorNutrients. 2018;10(11):1656. doi:10.3390/nu10111656