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Vitamin D (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth

Reviewed by: Richard W. Kruse, DO and Susan M. Dubowy, PA-C

Orthopedics at Nemours Children's Health

en español Vitamina D

What Is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body take in calcium from the foods that we eat. Together, calcium and vitamin D build bones and keep them strong. Vitamin D also plays a part in heart health and fighting infection.

Why Do Kids Need Vitamin D?

Kids need vitamin D to build strong bones. Vitamin D also helps bones heal after an injury or surgery.

Where Does Vitamin D Come From?

The Sun

Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun. It's hard to get enough vitamin D from the sun, though. Most kids and adults spend lots of time indoors at school and work. When outdoors, it's important to protect skin to prevent skin cancer and skin damage from too much sun exposure.


Very few foods have vitamin D naturally. The foods with the most are fatty fish (like salmon and tuna), liver, eggs and fish oils. Kids don't eat these foods a lot. That's why food companies add vitamin D to milk, yogurt, baby formula, juice, cereal, and other foods.

Adding vitamin D to foods is called "fortifying." It's helpful, but it still may not be enough.


To get enough vitamin D, children often need to take a multivitamin with vitamin D or a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is sometimes labeled as vitamin D3.

You can buy vitamin D pills, gummies, chewables, liquids, and sprays in stores without a prescription. Ask your child's health care provider for advice on choosing the right one.

How Much Vitamin D Does My Child Need?

Vitamin D is measured in international units (IU).

  • Babies younger than 1 year old need 400 IU of vitamin D a day. Baby formula has 400 IU per liter, so babies who drink at least 32 ounces of formula each day get enough. If your baby drinks only breast milk or gets less than 32 ounces of formula each day, ask your health care provider about giving your baby a vitamin D supplement.
  • Kids older than 1 year need 600 IU or more of vitamin D a day. Health care providers often want healthy kids to take 600 to 1,000 IU daily.

Some kids might need more vitamin D, such as those who:

  • have certain medical problems (for instance, obesity, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, multiple fractures, or bone pain)
  • are healing from bone surgery (such as after fusion surgery for scoliosis)
  • are taking medicines (like anti-seizure medicines) that block the way the body uses vitamin D

Your health care provider can talk to you about whether your child needs a vitamin D supplement.

How Can I Help My Child Get Enough Vitamin D?

Because vitamin D is so important, you'll want to be sure your child gets enough. Giving your child a daily supplement or a multivitamin with vitamin D is the easiest way to do this.

Health care providers might order a blood test if they think a health problem is keeping a child from getting enough vitamin D. If doctors don't think your child has a health problem, there's no need for a blood test.

What About Calcium?

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, a building block for strong bones. Unlike with vitamin D, kids usually can get enough calcium from food. High-calcium foods include milk, cheese, and yogurt. Food makers often fortify foods like cereal, bread, or juice with calcium.

Reviewed by: Richard W. Kruse, DO and Susan M. Dubowy, PA-C

Date reviewed: May 2021

The 14 Best Vitamin D Supplements in 2022

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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).

However, a survey published in 2018 found that 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, especially African Americans, people who smoke, those who get little sun exposure or regularly use sunscreen, adults over age 65, and people with obesity or diabetes (3, 4).

Because vitamin D is found naturally in very few food sources, it can be difficult to meet your needs through diet alone (5).

As such, many people may wish to take a vitamin D supplement, especially if they don’t regularly get sun exposure or consume foods fortified with vitamin D.

Here are 14 of the best vitamin D supplements for 2022.

  • 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: FullWell Prenatal Multivitamin, Ritual Prenatal Multivitamin
  • Best vitamin D subscription: Care/Of, Persona Vitamin D – Vegan – 1000 IU
  • Best for kids: Carlson Labs Kid’s Super Daily D3 + K2
  • Best for infants: Nordic Naturals Baby’s Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in many aspects of health.

In particular, vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium, which is necessary for maintaining strong and healthy bones (6).

It also regulates immune function. In fact, vitamin D deficiency may even be associated with increased susceptibility to infections and autoimmune disorders (7).

Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a range of chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity (8, 9, 10).

However, more research is needed to evaluate how vitamin D could impact these conditions and whether supplementation may be beneficial.

Because buying supplements can be confusing and overwhelming, we rounded up the best vitamin D supplements using the following criteria:

  • Effectiveness. The products listed below contain vitamin D3 for optimal absorption.
  • Ingredients. We looked for supplements that are free of unnecessary ingredients such as fillers and artificial sweeteners and colors.
  • Dietitian recommendation. All the products listed below were handpicked by a registered dietitian.
  • Price. We included products to suit a range of budgets.

Why you should trust us

Every brand and product on our list has been reviewed by registered dietitians and vetted to ensure that it aligns with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. Each product in this article:

  • adheres to allowable health claims and labeling requirements, per Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations
  • is manufactured in facilities that adhere to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) established by the FDA
  • is produced by a medically credible company that follows ethical, legal, and industry best standards
  • is made by a company that provides objective measures of trust, such as having its supplements validated by third-party labs

A note on price

General price ranges are indicated below with dollar signs ($–$$$). One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, prices range from $0.03–$1.67 per serving, or $12.39–$49.95 per container, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Note that serving sizes are generally 1 or 2 capsules per day. Liquid supplement dosages range from 1–5 drops or pumps daily.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $0.10 per serving
  • $$ = $0.10–$0.50 per serving
  • $$$ = over $0.50 per serving

Best high dose

Pure Encapsulations D3 10,000 IU

  • Price: $$
  • Dose: 1 capsule per day
  • Percentage of the Daily Value (DV): 1,250%
  • Who it’s best for: people who need a high dose vitamin D supplement

For people with a severe vitamin D deficiency, taking a high dose supplement is necessary, though it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a personalized dosage recommendation (4).

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 (4).

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 that claims its products are third-party tested and manufactured in facilities that exceed the standards of U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), a third-party organization that sets strict product-specific standards for supplements.


  • third-party tested
  • gluten-free
  • non-GMO
  • one-a-day formulation
  • vegetarian-friendly


  • high dose not appropriate for all people
  • not suitable for vegans

Shop now at Pure Formulas

NOW Foods D3 10,000 IU

  • Price: $$
  • Dose: 1 softgel every 3 days
  • Percentage of the DV: 1250%
  • Who it’s best for: people who need a high dose vitamin D supplement and prefer softgels over capsules

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.

It’s also non-GMO, kosher, and free of dairy, eggs, sugar, soy, and corn.

According to the company’s website, all NOW supplements are tested multiple times throughout the manufacturing process and are produced in third-party certified facilities.

Just keep in mind that while this product is appropriate for some people, it’s important to check with a healthcare professional before taking high dose vitamin D supplements.


  • non-GMO
  • only 1 softgel every 3 days
  • third-party certified


  • not suitable for vegetarians or vegans
  • high dose not appropriate for all people

Shop now at Amazon

Best vegan

Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 (Vegan) Liquid

  • Price: $$
  • Dose: 5 drops per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 125%
  • Who it’s best for: people who prefer a liquid form and are following a vegan diet

Many vitamin D3 supplements are derived from fish or sheep’s wool, meaning they’re inappropriate for vegans (5).

As a result, many vegan products contain ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) — a form of vitamin D that’s vegan since it’s derived from yeast or mushrooms.

However, research shows that D2 isn’t as effective at increasing blood levels of the vitamin as D3 is (11).

Recently, companies have found a way to manufacture vegan-friendly vitamin D3.

Pure Encapsulations, for example, offers a liquid D3 product that’s derived from sustainably harvested lichen.

It’s not only vegan but also free of gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and artificial colors or flavors.

What’s more, Pure Encapsulations thoroughly tests all products and manufactures supplements in a facility that exceeds the standards set by USP.

The company also states that its supplements are third-party tested by organizations such as Eurofins, Intertek, Silliker, and Advanced Laboratories.


  • third-party tested
  • vegan-friendly source of vitamin D3
  • certified gluten-free
  • easy-to-take liquid form
  • non-GMO

Shop now at Amazon

HUM Nutrition Here Comes the Sun

  • Price: $$
  • Dose: 1 softgel per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 250%
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a vegan-friendly, easy-to-swallow subscription option

HUM Nutrition is a company that offers high quality supplements and personalized nutrition advice from its in-house team of registered dietitians.

This softgel supplement contains vitamin D3 derived from lichen, making it a great option for vegans and vegetarians.

It’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.


  • third-party tested
  • vegan source of vitamin D3
  • non-GMO
  • gluten-free
  • one-a-day formulation

Shop now at HUM Nutrition

Best gummies

Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Vitamin D3 Gummies 1,000 IU

  • Price: $$
  • Dose: 1 gummy per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 125%
  • Who it’s best for: people who prefer gummies

Gummy vitamins are popular among adults and kids alike. Although they’re fun to chew, most contain added sugar.

If you’re trying to reduce your sugar intake, opt for Nordic Naturals’ 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, it’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.


  • third-party tested
  • easy to take
  • free of added sugar
  • vegetarian-friendly
  • non-GMO


  • contains xylitol, which some people may prefer to avoid
  • not suitable for vegans

Shop now at Nordic Naturals

Best drops

Thorne Vitamin D/K2

  • Price: $
  • Dose: 2 drops per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 125%
  • Who it’s best for: people who prefer drops and want the additional boost of vitamin K

As the drops can be mixed into any food or beverage, Thorne Vitamin D/K2 offers a convenient way to take your dose of vitamin D.

Thorne is a trusted supplement brand certified by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), a regulatory agency run by the Australian Department of Health.

Thorne’s liquid vitamin D supplement also provides vitamin K2, which works synergistically with vitamin D and is necessary for heart and skeletal health (12).

Thorne products are manufactured in a facility that’s certified by NSF International and undergo four rounds of testing in the company’s in-house laboratories.

This supplement is also free of soy, gluten, and dairy and made without any artificial flavors or additives.


  • affordable
  • third-party tested and certified
  • gluten-free
  • easy-to-take liquid form
  • provides 167% of the DV for vitamin K2


  • not suitable for vegans or vegetarians

Shop now

Best liquid

Designs for Health Liposomal D Supreme

  • Price: $$$
  • Dose: 1 pump per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 313%
  • Who it’s best for: people who prefer a liquid supplement

Designs for Health’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 (13).

Interestingly, liposomal forms of this vitamin have been shown to be better absorbed than tablet forms of vitamin D supplements (13).

Vitamins K and D work synergistically in your body, meaning that they enhance each other’s effects. Some research indicates that taking both may promote bone and heart health to a greater extent than taking vitamin D alone (14).

In addition to being free of dairy, gluten, and GMOs, Designs for Health supplements are produced in a facility that complies with the CGMPs set by the FDA.

According to the company’s website, Designs for Health supplements are tested for identity, purity, quality, strength, and composition in its in-house laboratories. However, products are not third-party tested.


  • also provides 271% of the DV for vitamin K
  • easy-to-take liquid form
  • gluten-free
  • vegetarian-friendly
  • non-GMO


  • expensive
  • not suitable for vegans
  • not third-party tested

Shop now at Amazon

Best chewable

NOW Foods Chewable Vitamin D3 5,000 IU

  • Price: $$
  • Dose: 1 chewable tablet every 2 days
  • Percentage of the DV: 625%
  • Who it’s best for: people who prefer a chewable option

Some people prefer chewable vitamins over capsules, liquids, gummies, and pills. Yet, many chewables contain added sugar.

Unlike other chewable vitamin D supplements, NOW’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 is certified by UL Solutions.

Again, keep in mind that sugar alcohols can cause digestive problems, such as stomach upset and diarrhea, especially when consumed in large amounts. Also, because this supplement is held together with cellulose, it’s less absorbable than oil-based capsules (13).


  • third-party certified
  • free of added sugars
  • comes in a chewable form, which some people may prefer
  • only 1 chewable tablet every 2 days


  • contains sugar alcohols, which some people may prefer to avoid
  • less absorbable than oil-based capsules
  • not suitable for vegans or vegetarians

Shop now at Amazon

Best prenatal with vitamin D

FullWell Prenatal Vitamin

  • Price: $$$
  • Dose: 8 capsules per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 667%
  • Who it’s best for: people who are pregnant or breastfeeding and want a comprehensive prenatal vitamin

It’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 (15).

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 (15, 16).

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 women and breastfed infants, though it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for a personalized recommendation (17).

Nonetheless, most prenatal supplements contain only 400–1,000 IU of this vitamin per dose.

FullWell Prenatal is a prenatal vitamin created by registered dietitians that delivers 4,000 IU of vitamin D per dose, along with other necessary nutrients for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Just keep in mind that a serving size is eight capsules, though the company’s website states that you can open the capsules and mix the powder into a smoothie or other cool beverage.


  • third-party tested
  • certificate of analysis (COA) available upon request
  • high in vitamin D
  • uses chelated minerals for optimal absorption
  • easy to digest


  • 8-capsule serving size
  • should be paired with a prenatal omega-3 supplement
  • may not be suitable for vegans
  • shipping fee for orders under $149

Shop now at FullWell Fertility

Ritual Prenatal Multivitamin

  • Price: $$$
  • Dose: 2 capsules per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 333%
  • Who it’s best for: people who are planning for pregnancy or are pregnant and are looking for a more minimal prenatal vitamin to help fill gaps in their diet

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.

Just keep in mind that Ritual’s prenatal is less comprehensive than FullWell’s, as it’s lower in choline and doesn’t contain nutrients like vitamin A, many B vitamins, and calcium.

Still, it’s a good option for those who maintain a balanced diet and prefer to take just 2 capsules per day.


  • third-party tested
  • vegan-friendly
  • contains DHA omega-3
  • non-GMO
  • gluten-free


  • not a comprehensive prenatal multivitamin

Shop now at Ritual

Best vitamin D subscription


  • Price: $$
  • Dose: 1 capsule per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 125%
  • Who it’s best for: people who like having individual daily vitamin packs

Care/of is a personalized, subscription-based supplement company that offers two vitamin D products — 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 it’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.


  • vegan-friendly
  • non-GMO
  • gluten-free
  • one-a-day formulation
  • third-party tested


  • requires a subscription

Shop now at Care/of

Persona Vitamin D 1000 IU

  • Price: $$
  • Dose: 1 softgel per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 125%
  • Who it’s best for: people who like having individual daily vitamin packs

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.

The company offers several vitamin-D-based products, including its Vitamin D softgel capsules.

In addition to providing 125% of the DV for vitamin D, it’s made without many common allergens, including wheat, fish, soy, peanuts, gluten, and corn.

Still, because Persona supplements are produced in facilities that handle major allergens, this vitamin D supplement isn’t suitable for people with severe food allergies or intolerances.

Persona Nutrition also notes that all products are tested for purity at each stage of production. However, it doesn’t mention whether products also undergo third-party testing by an independent lab.


  • packaged in convenient daily packs
  • one-a-day formulation


  • not third-party tested
  • not vegan-friendly

Shop now at Persona Nutrition

Best for kids

Carlson Labs Kid’s Super Daily D3 + K2

  • Price: $
  • Dose: 1 drop per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 125%
  • Who it’s best for: kids ages 4 and older

Vitamin D is necessary for children as well as adults (18).

Plus, some children may be at risk of a deficiency, particularly those who take epilepsy medication or have absorption issues (19, 20).

Still, some children’s vitamin supplements contain added sugar to increase palatability.

Formulated for kids ages 4 and older, Carlson Labs’ Kid’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 it’s vegetarian, dairy-free, and certified non-GMO by the International GMO Evaluation and Notification program, Carlson Labs doesn’t specify whether products undergo any other third-party testing.


  • liquid formulation is easy for kids to take
  • no added sugar
  • certified non-GMO
  • vegetarian-friendly
  • affordable


  • may not be third-party tested
  • not suitable for kids under age 4

Shop now at Carlson Labs

Best for infants

Nordic Naturals Baby’s Vitamin D3

  • Price: $
  • Dose: 1 drop per day
  • Percentage of the DV: 100%
  • Who it’s best for: infants up to 12 months old

Vitamin D is essential for proper bone development in babies (21).

Because breast milk 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 (21).

Nordic Naturals Baby’s Vitamin D3 is one of the best options, as it contains 400 IU of vitamin D3 per drop, which meets 100% of the DV for infants up to 12 months old.

The supplement is also free of artificial additives, with certified organic olive oil as the only other ingredient.

What’s more, the supplement is easy to use, as the oil can be applied to the nipple during breastfeeding, mixed into a bottle of pumped breast milk, or dropped directly into an infant’s mouth.


  • third-party tested
  • minimal ingredients
  • non-GMO verified
  • easy-to-administer drops


  • suitable only for babies up to 12 months old

Shop now at Amazon

Here’s a quick look at how our top picks compare:

Price rangeTypeDose per servingPercentage of the DVThird-party testedBest for
Carlson Labs Kid’s Super Daily D3 + K2$liquid1,000 IU125%nokids 4+ years old
Care/of$$capsules1,000 IU125%yesvegan-friendly subscription
Designs for Health Liposomal D Supreme$$$liquid2,500 IU313%nopeople who prefer a liquid form
FullWell Prenatal$$$capsules4,000 IU667%yespregnancy and breastfeeding
HUM Nutrition Here Comes the Sun$$capsules2,000 IU250%yeseasy-to-swallow vegan option
Nordic Naturals Baby’s Vitamin D3$liquid400 IU100%yesinfants up to 12 months old
Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Vitamin D3 Gummies$$gummies1,000 IU125%yespeople who prefer gummies
NOW Foods Chewable Vitamin D3$$tablets5,000 IU625%yespeople who prefer a chewable form
NOW Foods D3$$capsules10,000 IU1,250%yeshigh dose
Persona Vitamin D$$softgel capsules1,000 IU125%noconvenient daily vitamin packs
Pure Encapsulations D3$$capsules10,000 IU1,250%yeshigh dose
Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 (Vegan) Liquid$$liquid1,000 IU125%yesthird-party tested liquid
Ritual Prenatal Multivitamin$$$capsules2,000 IU250%yesprenatal to help fill nutrient gaps
Thorne Vitamin D/K2$liquid1,000 IU125%yesthird-party tested drops

Before you decide on a vitamin D supplement, it’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.

A healthcare professional can order blood work and help you determine an appropriate dosage.

Keep in mind that if you’re severely deficient in vitamin D, a healthcare professional may recommend high dose supplements or injections for a certain period, followed by a daily maintenance dose.

Other factors to consider when shopping for vitamin D supplements include:

  • Ingredients. Many products, especially liquids, gummies, and chewables, contain added sugars and artificial flavorings and colors.
  • Form of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements contain either ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) or cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). While both forms can increase levels of vitamin D effectively, vitamin D3 can increase levels more significantly and for longer (5).
  • Quality. Look for products that are rigorously tested for purity, quality, and accuracy, ideally from a third-party organization like USP or ConsumerLab.
  • Dose. Choose a product containing an appropriate dose of vitamin D to meet your needs. Keep in mind that the recommended amount of vitamin D varies by age and whether you’re looking to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D or are deficient (4).

The amount of vitamin D that you need per day depends on multiple factors, including your age and health status.

The recommended DV for vitamin D is 800 IU for adults and children over age 4 (5).

However, people who have a deficiency may require a larger amount.

To treat a vitamin D deficiency, a healthcare professional may recommend a vitamin D3 dosage of 6,000 IU per day or 50,000 IU per week for 8 weeks (4).

This may be followed by a maintenance dosage of 1,000–2,000 IU per day once blood levels of vitamin D are sufficiently restored (4).

Keep in mind that both Persona and Care/of offer only 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 need a much higher dose to increase their vitamin D blood level to an optimal level (4).

If you have received a diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency, a healthcare professional can prescribe a high dose supplement or recommend an appropriate dosage to meet your needs.

There are two main forms of vitamin D: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.

Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, is derived from plant-based sources such as yeast and mushrooms (22).

Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is an active form that is produced in the skin in response to sun exposure. It’s also found in certain animal sources of food, including egg yolks and beef liver (5, 23).

Though both forms are well absorbed and can increase blood levels of vitamin D, vitamin D3 can increase levels more significantly and for longer than vitamin D2 (5).

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 don’t regularly get sun exposure (4).

Additionally, vitamin D supplements may be recommended for those with health conditions that affect nutrient absorption, such as cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and short bowel syndrome (4).

If you suspect that you may have a vitamin D deficiency, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional to have your levels checked 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 forms can increase blood levels of vitamin D. However, vitamin D3 can raise 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 your body’s fat cells can store vitamin D and release it 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, 24).

However, taking large amounts of any supplement can be dangerous, and high dose monthly or weekly vitamin D supplements should be taken only under medical supervision.

Therefore, it’s best to check with a healthcare professional before using vitamin D supplements and to take vitamin D only 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):

  • muscle twitching
  • mood changes
  • fatigue
  • muscle or bone pain
  • joint stiffness
  • weakness

Low vitamin D can also be related to an increased risk of osteoporosis, falls, and fractures.

In children, potential symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include (4):

  • irritability
  • lethargy
  • 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).

Useful supplement shopping guides

Check out these two articles to help make supplement shopping a breeze:

  • How to Choose High Quality Vitamins and Supplements
  • How to Read Supplement Labels Like a Pro

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. Just keep in mind that for optimal absorption, it’s best to take vitamin D supplements with a meal containing fat, such as olive oil or peanut butter.

Before taking any new supplements, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine whether — and how much — you need to supplement.

Vitamin D in food: where it is found most

Vitamin D is a group of nutrients, the most famous of which are cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). The first is produced by the body under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, and also comes with food, the second is found only in food.

Unfortunately, a large number of people are deficient in this micronutrient. The results of a large-scale study conducted in 2016 at the Cork Center for Vitamin D and Nutrition Research, University College Cork (Ireland) led by Professor K.D. Cashman showed that 40.4% of the population of European countries have a deficiency of vitamin D in the blood serum, and 13% of people experience a pronounced deficiency of this micronutrient, which carries a high risk of clinical manifestations. This is due to the fact that the majority of the European population is in the zone of low insolation.

Taking into account the obtained data, the issue of replenishment of the “sunshine” vitamin through food becomes topical. Everyone knows that there is a lot of vitamin D in foods containing fish oil, but it can also be found in mushrooms, eggs and meat, dairy and plant foods. In this article, we will consider which foods contain vitamin D for introducing it into the diet and compile a list of champions in terms of its content.

Benefits for the body

The main function of vitamin D is participation in the metabolism of phosphorus and calcium. It ensures normal growth of bone tissue, prevents the occurrence of rickets and osteoporosis, and is responsible for the strength of teeth and nails.

Recent scientific data have proven the significant effect of vitamin D on the immune system and increase the protective properties of the body, which is especially important during colds and viral diseases. Calciferol improves cognitive functions, helps with nervous and psychological disorders, facilitates the course of autoimmune diseases (psoriasis), and prevents the growth of cancer cells.

Which foods contain the most vitamin D

It is known that approximately 90% of vitamin D is synthesized in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation. Unfortunately, not everyone can sunbathe all summer to accumulate enough of it, and doctors warn about the dangers of prolonged exposure to the sun due to the risk of skin cancer. Thus, to prevent a deficiency of the “sunshine” vitamin, two options remain: introduce foods rich in this nutrient into the diet, or take dietary supplements in various forms. So, let's look at which foods contain the most vitamin D.

Fish oil

Known and unloved by many since childhood, fish oil contains the largest amount of vitamins D2 and D3: 100 g of the product contains 250 mcg or 2500% of the daily requirement, and a teaspoon (5 ml) of cod liver oil contains it 56%. In addition, this product is one of the best sources of retinol - a growth vitamin for children, as well as omega-3 fatty acids - an important nutrient for heart, vascular and brain health. Fish oil can be bought in different forms of release, as well as with various flavoring and aromatic additives. However, due to the high toxicity of vitamin A, taking fish oil in large quantities is not recommended.

Fatty fish

The top vitamin D-rich food is fish, with salmon topping the list. The amount of D2 and D3 is very dependent on the habitat of the animals: the concentration in a wild individual is much higher than in artificially grown. So, in a 100-gram piece of fish caught in natural conditions, contains 247% of the daily norm, and in the "farm" - only 32%.

What other fish contains the most vitamin D? Interestingly, the most common herring, sardines and mackerel are also an excellent source of it, regardless of the cooking option. 100 g of fresh Atlantic herring contains 1600 IU of the "sunshine" vitamin, which is almost 4 times higher than the daily norm, in canned fish - 22%, and in marinated - 14%. Large amounts of calciferol are found in other varieties of fatty fish: chum salmon, pink salmon, halibut, as well as in canned tuna (34% DV in 100 g). The disadvantage of canned fish is the presence of sodium and a harmful toxin - methylmercury, which limits their use.

Oysters are rich in vitamin D from seafood. This gourmet food contains very few calories, but many important nutrients, including up to 80% of the daily value of calciferol in just two shellfish.

Forest mushrooms

For those who do not like fish, generous nature offers an alternative option - wild mushrooms, which are an excellent source of vitamin D. Interestingly, they, like humans, are able to synthesize a micronutrient under the influence of sunlight, but unlike us , mushrooms produce less efficient calciferol (vitamin D2). Some types of forest mushrooms contain up to 2300 IU per 100 grams, which is almost three times the daily value. Commercial mushrooms grown in the dark contain very little of this nutrient, but when exposed to UV radiation can provide up to 450 IU of vitamin D2 per 100 grams.

Whole eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin D3. One egg yolk contains 37 IU or 5% of the daily value. At the same time, the amount directly depends on the exposure of the chicken to the sun and the content of the vitamin in the chicken feed. By analogy with mushrooms, free-range domestic laying hens produce eggs with a vitamin D content 3-4 times higher than those grown in cramped and enclosed spaces.

Herbal products

Although vegetables and fruits contain almost no calciferol, some manufacturers produce juices fortified with this micronutrient. Such food is especially suitable for people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk. For example, a glass of fortified orange juice may contain 100 IU of ergocalciferol, or 12% of the Daily Value.

Vitamin D can also be found in other plant foods such as fortified cereals, soy, almond, coconut or rice milk. Half a cup of fortified oatmeal provides up to 17% of the daily micronutrient value, 100g of fortified tofu provides 13%, and a cup of soy milk provides up to 30%, which is a good way to increase your daily intake. A small amount of vitamin D contains potatoes, parsley, as well as some herbs: alfalfa, dandelion, nettle and horsetail.

Table 1. Foods high in vitamin D (D3 and D2)

Product name Vitamin D in 100 g percentage of daily needs
Fish oil (from the liver of the ruff) 250 μg 2 555555555555555555555555 Mackerel 16.3 µg 163%0057

Dietary supplements

Vitamin D can be obtained in three ways: sun exposure, food sources and dietary supplements. The latter option is convenient and affordable, therefore it is today a very popular way to prevent the “sunshine” vitamin.

Vitamin D is available in different dosages and forms:

  • oily
  • aqueous
  • fish oil in dark glass or capsules
  • medicinal solutions
  • chewable tablets
  • regular tablets.

The fat-soluble (oil) form is very popular for many vitamins, in which the active ingredient is dissolved in oil. However, the bioavailability of such vitamin D directly depends on the state of the gastrointestinal tract of the person who takes it. For example, chronic pancreatic disease significantly reduces micronutrient absorption.

An alternative to the oil form is the water form. It is a ready-to-use micellar solution of vitamin D that is easily digested in the intestines and is the preferred source of energy and resources.

Vitamin D supplements

Vitamin D capsules

Vitamin D3 2500 IU 150 mg capsule №90

Source of vitamin D, has a general strengthening effect on the body, maintains the required level of calcium in the body, promotes the absorption of phosphorus.

Vitamin D3 2500 IU 120 gelatin capsules TM Vansiton / Vansiton

Strengthens bone tissue, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, promotes the creation of immune cells, supports the functioning of the lungs and the cardiovascular system, increases the level of serotonin in the body.

Vitamin D3 1000 IU 100 softgels TM Country Life

Promotes calcium absorption, healthy teeth and nails, normal functioning of the immune system. A vegan product made from lanolin. The capsules contain cholecalciferol, a natural form of vitamin D3 that is most easily absorbed and utilized.

Causes of deficiency and daily intake of vitamin D

The authors of a study published in the journal “Science of the Total Environment” analyzed how long it takes to be in the sun to synthesize a daily dose of vitamin D3 without significant damage to health. It turned out that in July a person can be in the sun no more than 29min., in January - 130 min. at noon with maximum light and 10% open skin, and in October - 30 min.

However, it is not enough just to stay in the sun, it is necessary that the rays fall on the surface of the skin at a certain angle, which in the European part is observed in spring and summer from 12:00 to 16:00. But it is precisely this time that doctors consider the most harmful for sunbathing, fraught with photodermatosis and the risk of skin cancer. The use of sunscreen blocks the formation of vitamin D, which leads to its deficiency even in the summer.

Potential indicators of vitamin D deficiency are:

  • living in geographic latitudes with a small number of sunny days per year
  • environmental pollution
  • vitamin deficiency in the diet and semi-finished products).
  • lactose intolerance, dairy allergy
  • constant use of sunscreen
  • overweight
  • taking drugs that reduce the bioavailability of vitamin D
  • long-term diets of low-fat foods
  • chronic diseases that reduce the absorption of all vitamins by the body (cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, biliary tract dyskinesia, kidney and thyroid diseases).

Vitamin D deficiency can be diagnosed by taking a blood test. According to the clinical recommendations of endocrinologists, it is advisable to use the following interpretation of the concentrations of this micronutrient in the body in practice:

less than 10 (less than 25 nmol/l) - severe deficiency, characterized by an increased risk of rickets, osteomalacia, secondary hyperparathyroidism, myopathy, falls and fractures;

less than 20 ng / ml (less than 50 nmol / l) - micronutrient deficiency, causes an increased risk of bone loss, secondary hyperparathyroidism, falls and fractures;

20 to 30 ng/ml (50 to 75 nmol/l) - vitamin deficiency associated with low risk of bone loss and secondary hyperparateriosis, neutral effect on falls and fractures;

from 30 ng/ml (from 75 nmol/l) - adequate D level, optimal suppression of parathyroid hormone and bone loss, reduction in falls and fractures by 20%;

above 150 ng / ml (above 375 nmol / l) - levels with possible manifestation of vitamin D toxicity, hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria, nephrocalcinosis, calciphylaxis.

Given the latest scientific data on the significant impact of this nutrient on the body's susceptibility to viral infections, such knowledge will be useful to every person.

For the prevention of vitamin D deficiency without an appropriate test, it is recommended to take a therapeutic dose. For children under 3 years old, today it is 500 IU, from 3 to 12 years old - 1000 IU, over 12 years old and adults - 2000 IU. During viral infections, at the risk of oncological and autoimmune diseases, as well as in the fight against excess weight, the dosage should be higher and determined by the doctor.

Daily Values ​​for Vitamin D from the American Society of Endocrinology (2011 data).

9005 9005ET 400

Age group

Recommended daily dose, ME

Maximum consumption, IU

9000 9000 9000 9000


Infant, 7-12 months



Children 1 - 3 years old




years old

9000 9000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 600000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 600000 3000 3000 3000 600000 3000 3000 3000 3000 600,0003

Children 9-17



Adults 18-700003


Research on the positive effects of vitamin D on human health is ongoing, but due to the already proven benefits, doctors strongly recommend taking it for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes with food or supplements. To determine the right dosage, it is first recommended to take an appropriate blood test and follow the recommendations of the doctors.

Loss of smell: causes and treatment Foods containing zinc to boost immunity and overall health Foods rich in vitamin D

  • Salmon
  • Sardines and other fatty fish
  • Herring
  • Canned tuna
  • Cod liver oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Cow's milk
  • Soy milk
  • Orange juice
  • Vitamin D and calcium

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1. Salmon

According to the USDA, a 100 g serving of oily fish contains 526 IU (International Units) of vitamin D. This is 66% of the daily value [1]. Much depends on where the salmon was raised. Wild caught fish contains up to 988 IU of vitamin D per serving, with some studies claiming that figure goes up to 1,300 IU [2], [3]. Captive-raised salmon may provide 25% fewer nutrients, but on average, one serving provides 250 IU of the vitamin, or 32% of the Daily Value [2].

Benefits of Vitamin D

2. Sardines and other oily fish

Canned sardines are a good source of the "sunshine vitamin". One hundred-gram serving contains 177 IU of the nutrient, which is 22% of the daily value of its intake. Other types of healthy oily fish are also worth including if you spend a lot of time indoors. For example, a serving of halibut or mackerel will provide about 360-390 IU vitamin D [5], [6].

3. Herring

Herring is cooked not only in oil. It can be canned, smoked and pickled. One fresh natural Atlantic herring is a source of 216 IU of vitamin D per serving, i. e. 27% of the recommended daily intake [4]. If you prefer marinated fish, then use it to replenish about 14% of the required amount of vitamin D - in one serving it is 112 IU. Keep in mind that with this method of cooking, a lot of salt accumulates in fish, an excess of which can adversely affect health.

4. Canned tuna

This fish is often added to soups and salads. Canned food is convenient to store, you can easily cook dinner from them without long heat treatment. In addition, in this form, tuna is much cheaper than fresh. Canned food contains 268 IU of vitamin D per 100 g, which is 34% of the daily value. In addition, canned tuna is an excellent source of vitamin K [9]. But doctors say the product may contain traces of mercury and other toxins that, when accumulated in the body, cause health problems. They are found in many types of fish [10], so you should not eat canned tuna every day.

5. Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is used to prevent vitamin D deficiency in children. A teaspoon of cod liver oil contains 448 IU of the substance, which is 56% of the recommended daily allowance [7], [8]. In addition, this fat contains a large amount of Omega-3 and vitamin A - about 150% of the daily value in 5 ml. Keep in mind that large amounts of this vitamin can be toxic, so you should not consume cod liver oil too often.

6. Egg yolks

Seafood is the main, but not the only source of vitamin D. Whole eggs make up for its deficiency just as well, and they are also very nutritious. Useful substances and minerals are found mainly in the yolk: one contains 5% of the daily norm of the “sunshine vitamin” [11]. The amount of vitamin D depends mainly on the amount of time the chicken has been in the sun and the quality of the grain it has been fed. Farm-raised birds produce eggs that are three to four times more nutrient dense [12].

7. Mushrooms

Vitamin D is produced in mushrooms under the influence of ultraviolet radiation [13]. This is one of the plant foods with a high content of vitamins without additional artificial enrichment. Mushrooms have a lot of D2, while, for example, fish has a lot of D3. D2 helps increase blood levels of the vitamin, but is less effective than D3 [14]. Some varieties of mushrooms contain up to 2300 IU in a 100-gram serving, which is almost several times more than the daily allowance. But most types of product from the store are grown in the dark, and there are much fewer useful substances in them. Some manufacturers treat mushrooms with ultraviolet light, which provides about 130-450 IU of vitamin D2 per serving [15].

9 foods rich in vitamins

8. Cow's milk

There are not so many natural foods rich in vitamin D. But manufacturers have figured out how to make up for its deficiency for those who do not eat fish, mushrooms and eggs. Some products are additionally enriched with vitamins. Cow's milk is a source of many nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin [16]. The fortified product contains 115-130 IU of vitamin D per cup (230-250 ml) [17].

9. Soy milk

Since vitamin D is found mainly in animal products, vegetarians are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency [18]. For this reason, animal milk substitutes are also often additionally enriched with nutrients. Vitamin D is added to soy, oat, buckwheat and other types of plant-based milk. Information about useful additives is indicated on the package; read the ingredients before buying.

How vegetarianism affects weight

10. Orange juice

About 75% of people in the world suffer from some degree of lactose intolerance, and 2-3% from milk allergy [19]. Therefore, other foods fortified with nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D can be found in stores [20]. One cup (250 ml) of orange juice contains about 100 IU, or 12% of the daily value.

11. Vitamin D and Calcium

The "sunshine vitamin" is essential for the proper absorption of calcium, which plays a key role in strong bones and skeletal integrity [21]. A sufficient amount of both substances reduces the risk of osteoporosis [22]. Children aged one to seven and adults need approximately 600 IU of vitamin D per day. People over 70 years of age should receive at least 800 IU (20 mcg) of the substance per day [23]. The need for calcium also depends on age: children from one to eight years old need about 2500 mg per day, from nine to 18 years old - 3000 mg. Adults from 19up to 50 years, 2500 mg per day is required, and after 50 - 2000 mg [24].

Add calcium-rich foods such as cheese, Greek yogurt, spinach, kale, soy to your diet. Some foods contain both calcium and vitamin D, such as salmon, sardines, and fortified orange juice.

How to take vitamins correctly and why you need it

Expert comment

Ekaterina Erokhina, head of the Diabetes Diagnosis and Treatment Center, endocrinologist, candidate of medical sciences, employee of the Medsi Clinical and Diagnostic Center on Belorusskaya: “Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is involved in the regulation of calcium-phosphorus metabolism and the maintenance of immunity, antitumor protection, and many other body functions. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin under the influence of UV rays, and also comes from food. But in order to turn into an active form, it goes through two more stages of activation in the body: in the liver and kidneys.

To compensate for vitamin D deficiency, only food is not enough, since its content in most foods is extremely small. The leader in vitamin D content is fish: for example, wild salmon contains 600-1000 IU per 100 g, herring - up to 1676 IU, sardines - 300-600 IU, canned tuna - 236 IU. Other foods contain vitamin D in negligible amounts: sour cream - 50 IU per 100 g, butter - 52 IU, egg yolk - 20 IU per piece, beef liver - 45 IU per 100 g, milk - only 2 IU per 100 g of product .

For the prevention of vitamin D deficiency, an adult is recommended to receive at least 600-800 IU per day, and in case of deficiency - at least 1500-2000 IU.

The situation may be exacerbated by impaired absorption of vitamin D from food in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, obesity and diabetes.

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