The 5 Best Vitamin D Supplements for Bone, Immune, Mental Health & More

There’s really no overstating the importance of vitamin D, as it’s absolutely vital to human health.

You may have already heard this, but vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because one of the main ways of getting it is through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is totally free, so why would you spend your hard earned money on a vitamin D supplement?

Well actually, vitamin D deficiency is very common, and it’s estimated that in the United States, 41.6% of people are deficient in it. Worldwide, experts estimate that around 1 billion people are vitamin D deficient.

But if sunlight is so prevalent, why are so many people deficient in it? There are various reasons why someone can develop a vitamin D deficiency. Living in a cold climate where you don’t get out in the sun enough can contribute to the problem. The indoor-centric lifestyle that we tend to live in Western countries can contribute to the problem too.

So in this article, we’ll discuss some ways you can naturally increase your vitamin D levels but also ensure you get enough vitamin D through supplements.

 

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a nutrient that’s essential to our bodies.

It plays an important role in several physiological processes:

  1. Vitamin D encourages better absorption of calcium, making bones stronger and healthier
  2. Vitamin D helps block the release of the hormone parathyroid, which absorbs bone tissue and can lead to weak/brittle bones
  3. It plays a role in the immune system
  4. It plays a role in muscle function
  5. Some studies suggest that vitamin D could help in the prevention of prostate, colon, and breast cancer. There is also some research that suggests it can help in the prevention/treatment of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. (1)

Vitamin D is produced in the body when a chemical called calciferol is converted into the vitamin after coming into contact with sunlight.

One of the reasons vitamin D deficiency is so common is that it’s not found in many foods, so it’s more difficult to obtain through the diet compared to some other vitamins. However, it is found in a few foods, most commonly in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, and it can be found in many fortified milk and cereals as well. (2)

 

Consequences of Vitamin D Deficiency

It’s important to avoid vitamin D deficiency because the consequences can be serious, especially if you consistently have one.

Some symptoms and negative consequences that can arise from not getting enough vitamin D may include:

  • Depression (3) (4)
  • Fatigue (5) (6)
  • Weak immune system and frequently getting sick (7) (8)
  • Bone loss (9)
  • It could compromise wound healing (10)
  • Back and bone pain (11)

Vitamin D deficiency is more common in obese people, people who have dark skin, and those over the age of 65. If you fall into one of those categories, you may need to pay a little more attention to getting enough vitamin D and it’s a good idea to bring it up with your doctor, regardless of whether you fall into one of these categories or not.

 

Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Aside from being necessary for proper function of many aspects of the human body, vitamin D has multiple health benefits. Some of them include:

  • Weight loss: one study found that vitamin D and calcium helped the study’s participants lose weight, likely through an appetite-suppressing effect. (12)
  • Reduces risk of disease: Some studies have shown that vitamin D reduced the risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis. (13) (14)
  • Boosts your immune system: Vitamin D helps you fight off illnesses such as the flu. (15)
  • Strengthens bones (16)
  • Improves mental health: Some studies have shown an improvement in depression and anxiety after vitamin D supplementation. (17) (18)

 

Should You Take a Vitamin D Supplement?

It’s always best to consult your physician before changing your diet or taking a new supplement, so before you buy a vitamin D supplement, we do recommend doing that. If you are at risk of having a vitamin D deficiency, it’s worth looking into.

If you have a dark complexion, are over the age of 65, live in a cold climate, or just don’t get out in the sun much, you have a higher chance of having a vitamin D deficiency. The time of year can be a contributing factor to vitamin D deficiency as well.

 

#1: Carlson Vitamin D3 4,000 IU

Image of a bottle of Carlson Vitamin D3 Supplement

The vitamin D supplement that sits atop our number one spot is Carlson’s Vitamin D3 4,000 IU. We chose this as the best vitamin D supplement because of the product’s superior formula.

The daily recommended intake of vitamin D is 400-800 IU, but some studies suggest that in order to get optimal blood levels of vitamin D, up to 4,000 IU is necessary.

This product contains 4,000 IU of vitamin D, which we believe is a good amount to promote healthy bones and a healthy immune system in most people. It’s worth noting though, that in your search for vitamin D supplements to pass on any that have an IU higher than 4,000. Going higher than this can result in vitamin D toxicity.

This is a good amount to take if you know you have a vitamin D deficiency or have high-risk factors for it (i.e. it’s winter in your area or you just don’t get out in the sun much).

This supplement comes in soft gels made of beef-sourced gelatin, so, unfortunately, it’s not vegan-friendly. There are 360 pills, so you get an entire year’s supply at a very reasonable price.

Pros:

  • Potent, ideal amount of vitamin D
  • Excellent value for the money
  • Only have to buy once a year
  • No additives

Cons:

  • Not suitable for vegans
  • Gel capsules may be difficult to digest
  • Some consumers mention a strong scent

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#2: Maxi Health Natural Vitamin D3 – 3000 IU

Image of a bottle of Maxi Health Maxi D3 3000 Vitamin D Supplement

Another great vitamin D supplement option is Maxi Health’s Natural Vitamin D3 – 3000 IU. This supplement works well if you think you’re getting at least a little bit of vitamin D from other sources, such as sunlight.

Maxi Health notes that they formulated their product to “support healthy bone, teeth, muscle and immune system with all natural ingredients”. In their larger size that they have available, the product comes with 180 pills in tablet form. It’s very reasonably priced.

This supplement is free of “soy, wheat, gluten, yeast, salt, sugar, milk, artificial flavors, colorings or preservatives”.

Pros:

  • Contains a potent amount of vitamin D3
  • Is allergen-free
  • Vegetarian/vegan-friendly

Cons:

  • Dosage size may not be suitable for you

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#3: Bronson Vitamin D3 2000 IU Certified Organic Vitamin D Supplement

Image of a bottle of Certified Organic Vitamin D3 2000 IU

Bronson’s Vitamin D3 2000 IU Certified Organic Vitamin D Supplement contains 2,000 IU of vitamin D and uses all-natural, organic ingredients. If you’re concerned where your food and supplements are sourced, you’ll be happy to know that it’s also GMO-free.

This supplement is free of gluten, soy, wheat, and nuts, so you won’t have any problems if you have allergies. Vitamin D3 is the type of vitamin D found naturally in the body, so that’s good as well.

Bronson is a well-respected company in the supplement industry, and the high ratings and independent reviews you’ll find from real consumers is a testament to that.

Pros:

  • Organic
  • GMO-free
  • One bottle will last you an entire year

Cons:

  • Contains some ingredients we believe to be unnecessary
  • Chalky taste

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#4: Vitafusion Vitamin D3 Gummy Vitamins

Image of a bottle of Vitafusion Vitamin D3 2000 IU supplement

Vitafusion’s Vitamin D3 Gummy Vitamins are one of the best vitamin D supplements if you prefer your supplements in something other than pill form. Gummies are easier to swallow and digest than pills, and this supplement is no exception.

These gummies taste really great, so that’s always a plus as well. In fact, Vitafusion won the Chef’s Best Excellence Award, which is a taste rating for supplements done by professional chefs.

This supplement is free of artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, synthetic dyes, gluten, and dairy. It contains 2000 IU of vitamin D3.

A bottle comes with 150 gummies and a serving size is 2, so that’s 75 servings. If you felt you needed 4,000 IU of vitamin D but prefer not to take pills for whatever reason, you could double or just add one additional gummy and you’d still be within a safe range of the vitamin.

The only thing to be aware of (which is something you should always be aware of with gummy vitamins), is to make sure to brush your teeth after taking these. Gummies are pretty much always made with some sugar, and you don’t want to go your entire day with that eating away at your teeth.

Pros:

  • Good alternative if you don’t like taking pills
  • 2,000 IU of vitamin D
  • Great taste

Cons:

  • Contains sugar
  • Contains tree nuts (coconut)
  • Some consumers report it caused them an allergic reaction
  • Can come melted if you order during the summer months

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#5: Biotics Research Bio-D-Mulsion Forte – Vitamin D3 Liquid Drops 2000 IU

Image of a bottle of Biotics Research Bio-D-Mulsion Forte

Last but certainly not least we have Biotics Research’s Bio-D-Mulsion Forte – Vitamin D3 Liquid Drops 2000 IU. This is another great option if you prefer to take your supplements in some other way than pills.

In fact, some consumers have noted that because they have vitamin D absorption issues, they took this supplement and it was able to raise their vitamin D levels to a healthier level than any other type of vitamin D supplement.

A serving size of this supplement is really easy to take, as it’s just one drop. That one drop contains 2,000 IU of vitamin D (as cholecalciferol, which is a form of vitamin D3).

This product is dairy and gluten free.

Pros:

  • Very easy to take
  • Absorbs very well
  • Good alternative to pills

Cons:

  • Hard to tell the exact dosage you’re getting
  • Some consumers say it causes them headaches

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Conclusion

If you know for a fact that you’re susceptible to low levels of vitamin D, or you suspect you are, it’s a good idea to take a 4,000 IU vitamin D supplement like Carlson’s Vitamin D3 4,000 IU, especially during the winter months when you’re less likely to be getting enough vitamin D from the sun.

Based on its formula, price, consumer satisfaction, and our personal testing, we believe it to be the best vitamin D supplement on the market today.

If your vitamin D levels aren’t extremely low or if you’re getting at least some sun but not a lot, then it’s also worth taking a look at the vitamin D supplements with lower levels.

And of course, if you prefer not taking pills, you really can’t go wrong with either Vitafusion’s Vitamin D3 Gummy Vitamins or Biotics Research’s Bio-D-Mulsion Forte – Vitamin D3 Liquid Drops 2000 IU. Whatever you do, just make sure to get enough vitamin D, because the consequences can be very unhealthy.

 

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