We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Medical News Today only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
Was this helpful?

Finding the best vitamin D supplement can depend on various factors, such as age, dose, and how they are taken. Mindbodygreen, Ritual, and NOW are some of the best brands for vitamin D supplements.

This article looks at how much vitamin D people need by age, who may need a supplement, and some options to consider. It also discusses how to get more vitamin D naturally.

Medical News Today chooses products that fit the following criteria:

  • Safety: The products contain safe doses of vitamin D for adults.
  • Manufacturing process: The companies adhere to the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Quality: The products have third-party certification for safety and quality.
  • Suitability: The products suit most people’s dietary requirements, including those with vegan diets.
  • Ordering process: Various products are available by subscription or as one-off purchases.
Was this helpful?

Below are some of the best vitamin D supplements available.

The following table compares the supplements in this article on form, dose, price, and more.

FormDoseAmount of vitamin DDiet suitabilityPrice
Care/ofcapsule1 capsule daily25 mcg
(1,000 IU)
• vegetarian
• gluten-free
$8 per month
Ritualcapsule2 capsules daily50 mcg
(2,000 IU)
• vegan
• gluten-free
• allergen-free
Personacapsule1 capsule daily25 mcg
(1,000 IU)
allergen-free$1.68 per capsule
NOWchewable tablets1 tablet every 2 days 5,000 IU• vegetarian
• soy-free
• gluten-free
around $9
gel caps 1 gel cap daily125 mcg
(5,000 IU)
• GMO-free
• gluten-free
• soy-free
• dairy-free
Pure Encapsulations capsules 1 capsule daily250 mcg
(10,000 IU)
• vegetarian
• hypoallergenic
from around $29

In supplements, two forms of vitamin D are available: D2, called ergocalciferol, and D3, called cholecalciferol. Both are effective, but D3 seems to be more effective at higher dosages.

Manufacturers use yeast to make D2, and they can produce D3 from several sources, including:

  • lanolin, which comes from sheep’s wool
  • fish oils, such as cod liver oil
  • algae oil, which is suitable for people with vegan diets

Learn more about the best supplements for vegans.

Vitamin D supplements are available as chewable tablets, liquids, and sprays, among other forms.

The best type of supplement may depend on preferences and medical needs. For example, a liquid or spray may be easier to take than a capsule.

Learn more about the differences between vitamins D2 and D3.

Further resources

For more in-depth resources about vitamins, minerals, and supplements, visit our dedicated hub.

Was this helpful?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for healthy bones, immune function, and cell growth.

Some people are more at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), these groups can include:

  • Infants drinking breast milk: This does not contain much vitamin D. The NIH reports that exclusively and partially breastfed infants receive 10 micrograms (mcg), or 400 international units (IU), of vitamin D per day until weaning.
  • People who get less exposure to sunlight: People who cannot leave the house, work night shifts, or cover their skin for religious reasons may not get the sun exposure that the body needs to create enough vitamin D. People who live in colder climates may also get less sunlight exposure during the winter months.
  • Older adults: Older adults who spend more time indoors may be at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. According to the NIH, around half of older adults with hip fractures in the United States may have inadequate vitamin D levels. Also, the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D declines with age.
  • People with dark skin: Dark skin tones contain more melanin, which can reduce the amount of vitamin D the skin makes. People with darker skin tones generate vitamin D from the sun more slowly than people with lighter skin. However, it is unclear whether this has any health consequences.
  • People with obesity: Having a body mass index of 30 or over is associated with lower vitamin D levels, according to the NIH. People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery may also need more vitamin D.
  • People with malabsorption: Conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease affect the gut’s ability to absorb vitamin D. People with such conditions may not eat foods that contain vitamin D due to dietary restrictions.

A person’s daily requirement for vitamin D depends on age, whether they are pregnant, and whether they have any underlying medical conditions.

The NIH provides these general guidelines:

AgeDaily amount of vitamin D required
0–12 months10 mcg (400 IU)
1–18 years15 mcg (600 IU)
19–70 years15 mcg (600 IU)
70 years and over20 mcg (800 IU)

Pregnant or breastfeeding people should aim to get 15 mcg (600 IU) of vitamin D per day.

Most people meet at least some of their vitamin D requirements by having safe exposure to sunlight. According to the NIH, spending 5–30 minutes in the sun, with the face, arms, legs, or back exposed, at least twice a week is usually enough.

However, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends getting vitamin D through food sources and supplements rather than sun exposure to limit the risk of developing skin cancer.

Learn more about vitamin D levels.

Taking high amounts of vitamin D by mouth can be toxic. Research suggests that the tolerable upper limit for adults is 100 mcg (4,000 IU) per day.

Some symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include:

It is important to note that vitamin D toxicity usually only stems from excessive supplementation rather than from spending a lot of time in the sun or absorbing too much of the vitamin from food.

Vitamin D supplements can also react with certain medications, such as steroids, weight loss drugs, and medications that lower cholesterol. A person should check with a healthcare professional before taking a new supplement.

Learn when vitamin D can be harmful.

Safe exposure to sunlight is one of the most effective ways to get more vitamin D, but a person cannot get vitamin D from sitting near a window or outside in the shade.

Some foods contain this nutrient, including:

Learn about the best food sources of vitamin D.

If a person is concerned that they might not be getting enough vitamin D, a doctor can check for a deficiency via a blood test.

Vitamin D deficiencies can cause conditions that affect the bones, such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis. This is because a deficiency reduces calcium absorption.

Learn more about the best at-home vitamin deficiency tests.

A deficiency in vitamin D can also lead to rickets, a childhood condition that causes the bones to be softer and more prone to fracture. Most companies fortify milk with vitamin D in the United States, reducing rickets’ prevalence.

Learn more about vitamin D deficiency.

A person should contact a healthcare professional if they notice any of the following symptoms, which can indicate a vitamin D deficiency:

A person should contact a doctor immediately if they have new or worsening symptoms after taking vitamin D.

According to the NIH the best way to take vitamin D supplements are via food, sun exposure, and dietary supplementation.

  • Food: The two main types of vitamin D available in food are D2 and D3. Fatty fish, such as trout and mackerel, and fish liver oil are the best sources of this vitamin. The U.S. and Canada also fortify milk and some milk alternatives with the nutrient.

  • Sun exposure: UVB radiation can penetrate the skin and lead to the production of vitamin D3. However, the season, time and length of the day, and the weather can influence this. Also, older people and people with more melanin cannot produce as much vitamin D3 from sun exposure.

  • Dietary supplements: Supplements contain vitamin D2 or D3. While the way the body processes these in the same way, vitamin D3 may increase the amount of serum 25(OH)D for longer than vitamin D2. Low amounts of this serum can indicate a risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Learn how to get the most vitamin D from the sun.

The body converts vitamin D into two forms: D2 and D3.

The NIH states that the body appears to absorb the two types at the same rate. The body then turns the vitamin into serum 25(OH)D.

However, levels of this serum are higher and present in the body for longer with D3 than with D2. This may mean a person has a lower risk of a deficiency if they take D3 supplements.

Learn the signs of getting enough vitamin D.

As the NIH notes, people require different amounts of vitamin D at different ages. The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) are 0–12 months: 10 mcg (400 IU), 1–70 years: 15 mcg (600 IU), over 70 years: 20 mcg (800 IU).

Learn about typical levels of vitamin D.

Taken in appropriate doses, vitamin D is safe to take daily. A person should be careful not to exceed the daily recommended doses of vitamin D as taking too much can be toxic. The upper intake level for people over 19 is 100 mcg (4,000 IU). More information on the safe dosages of vitamin D is on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website.

A person should speak with a doctor before taking any new supplements. They should always follow the instructions on their chosen product and stop using the supplement if they develop any adverse reactions.

Vitamin D is best taken with meals to enhance the absorption into a person’s circulation. Many brands recommend taking the supplement with meals.

According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin D is fat-soluble. A person can consider taking it with food that contains some fat.

Two forms of vitamin D are available as a supplement, vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, and vitamin D2, ergocalciferol. Both can help correct the body better absorbs vitamin D deficiency, however, vitamin D3 because this is what the body makes from sunlight.

Doctors may prescribe various strengths of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Doctors most commonly prescribe vitamin D3 because the body easily absorbs it.

According to a research review, people should avoid taking more than 4,000 IU per day which is the safe upper limit of daily vitamin D. However, the study also reports that the safety of the dose depends on the person’s current vitamin D status, age, and sex.

A person should seek medical advice from their doctor or healthcare professional before taking vitamin D supplements to avoid potential overdose.

Limited, safe sunlight exposure several times a week can help a person get enough vitamin D, but this may not be possible for many reasons. As a result, some people need to take supplements to get their recommended dose of vitamin D.

A person may only need this supplement during winter, while others may need it year-round.

It is important to note that vitamin D supplements can interact with other medications. As always, check with a healthcare professional before taking a new supplement.

A doctor can take a blood test to look for a vitamin D deficiency. They may then recommend a supplement dosage, considering the person’s age and any other medications.