5 Best Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D is a substance that humans cannot live without. Vitamin D is both a nutrient and a hormone and for those who are deficient in vitamin D, selecting the best vitamin D supplement can be a daunting task. This article examines and evaluates the five best vitamin D supplements available without a prescription. Postmenopausal women, for example, are one population who could benefit from reading this report before committing time and money and risking the purchase of a poor quality, ineffective product.

Comparison Table

Vitamin D FAQ

assorted vitamin D supplements

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There is a great deal of misinformation out on the Internet. Unscrupulous suppliers and vendors will deliberately exaggerate the benefits and minimize the negative aspects of the product they are trying to sell. In order to clear up any misconceptions and misinformation about vitamin D and to help make a decision as to what is the best vitamin D supplement, some frequently asked questions need to be answered.

1. What Is Vitamin D?

2. Why Do We Need Vitamin D?

3. What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency?

4. What Are the Side Effects of Vitamin D Supplements?

5. Do Vitamin D Supplements Require a Doctor's Prescription?

How We Reviewed

person holding vitamin D supplement

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The following products were reviewed based on several parameters; product description, price, pros and cons, and where to buy. We do not, however, work for the companies we reviewed; we are also consumers of the best vitamin D supplements. We spent several hours poring over the labels, reading consumer reviews and reading reports from professional consumer organizations. Then we went out and analyzed information provided from organizations such as the National Institute of Health (NIH), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Overall Price Range of Vitamin D Supplements    

price tag

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Vitamin D supplements range from about $4.00 to about $70.00. While some prices are based solely on the brand's reputation, the key to the price is usually found on the label. First of all, we only consider supplements that contain vitamin D3, as that is considered the form that is more readily available for absorption, safer and more effective. All labels should indicate the source of their vitamin D3.

Secondly, price is frequently associated with the quality of so-called “other ingredients.” Ingredients that are organic or naturally/responsibly sourced cost more and those costs are naturally passed on to the consumer. Price is often related to what is not included. Vague fillers, colors (especially artificial colors) and other additives not known to be beneficial are often found in the cheaper brands.

What We Reviewed

Jar of Supplement

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The search for the best vitamin D supplement led us to the following five brands:
•    Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Vitamin D3 2000 I.U. Softgels
•    Daily D Vegan Vitamin D Drops for Adults
•    Vitafusion Vitamin D3 Gummy Vitamins
•    Caltrate 600+D3 Calcium and Vitamin D Supplement Tablet, 600 mg
•    Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3

Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Vitamin D3 2000 I.U. Softgels

Our first candidate for the best vitamin D supplement is Kirkland Signature. This is Costco's private label, introduced in 1992 and intended to provide brand-name quality products at discount prices.

Features

This vitamin D3 preparation does not contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. Each softgel Contains soybean oil, gelatin, glycerin, water, corn oil, and vitamin D3. It does not indicate how the D3 is processed but does list cod liver oil.

Pros

Price

Contains natural ingredients

Softgel is easily swallowed

Cons

Contains color (caramel)

Contains soy

Does not show how D3 is manufactured

Where to Buy

Daily D Vegan Vitamin D Drops for Adults

Our second candidate for best vitamin D supplement comes from the Daily nutritional products manufacturer, established in 1979. The intention is to produce high-quality products from natural sources.

Features

This vitamin D preparation boasts a vegan, non-GMO product. Each drop contains 2500 IU of vitamin D3 that is derived from lichen extract. Its other ingredients are derived from coconut oil and sunflower, and the label lists the names of those derivatives. It does not contain any yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.

Pros

Cost-to-quality ratio

Dosage is one drop

One bottle is 365 doses

Vegan

All-natural ingredients

Describes how D3 is manufactured

Cons

Price

Liquid

Dropper

Where to Buy

Vitafusion Vitamin D3 Gummy Vitamins

Our third candidate for the best vitamin D supplement comes from the Vitafusion manufacturer. They have been making their products in the USA since 1998 and intend to make supplements taste good.

Features

This vitamin D3 preparation, by its nature, requires a longer label than the others. The dosage is two gummy vitamins a day and contains 15 calories and 3 grams of sugar. They do not specify how their D3 is prepared. As for other ingredients, glucose syrup is listed first, followed by sugar, water, gelatin, and several other plant-based items.

Pros

Chewable

Tasty

Price

No artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners

No high fructose corn syrup

Cons

Calorie and sugar content

One dose is two units

Can be mistaken for candy

Too many ingredients

Where to Buy

Caltrate 600+D3 Calcium and Vitamin D Supplement Tablet

Our fourth candidate for the best vitamin D supplement comes from a heavy hitting manufacturer with an established reputation for bone health products. It is marketed by Pfizer.

Features

This vitamin D3 preparation comes with 600 mg of calcium. They specify that the calcium is from calcium carbonate, which is a form known for ready absorption and utilization. They do not specify how their D3 is derived. Dosage is recommended at up to two times daily.

Pros

Tablet size is manageable

Calcium and vitamin D3 taken concurrently

Calcium carbonate bioavailability

Cons

Requires management of calcium

Contains artificial colors

Contains unnecessary ingredients

Does not advertise enough about the product itself

Where to Buy

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3

Our fifth and final candidate for best vitamin D supplement is Nordic Naturals, a company whose founder is Norwegian but started his company in California in 1995. His focus is on omega-rich cod liver oil.

Features

This vitamin D preparation features vitamin D3 in olive oil, which has been shown to enhance the action of vitamin D3. Although Nordic Naturals talks about omega rich cod liver oil, is not listed as an ingredient on their label. This preparation has no artificial colors, flavors, gluten, or milk derivatives.

Pros

All-natural ingredients

Softgel easy to swallow

Price

Cons

Confusing claims

Nordic name is misleading

Needs data to support olive oil benefits

Where to Buy

The Verdict for the Best Vitamin D Supplement

Vitamin D Supplement

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The best vitamin D supplement is Daily D Vegan Vitamin D Drops for Adults. It wins hands down because what you see is what you get. One drop per day delivers 2500 IU, and one bottle lasts one year—that is seven cents a day for a high-quality vitamin D3 preparation.