Do you ever feel like you take an endless supply of vitamins and supplements but are potentially not meeting your true needs? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as popping one daily multivitamin to ensure you’ve covered your bases. One of the essential ones you may not be getting enough is vitamin D, especially if you have a desk job. Being aware of a potential deficiency is one thing, finding a solution is another—you may have lots of questions regarding how to pick the best vitamin D supplement.
First, you should know vitamin D, which is technically a hormone, is one of the most powerful nutrients for the human body and is vital for bone health and immune function, according to Kylene Bogden, RDN, LDN, CSSD, the co-founder of FWDfuel. Vitamin D deficiency is actually pretty common, largely due to the fact that there aren’t many foods that contain it, unless they’re fortified with it.
“Research continues to show us that a vitamin D deficiency can lead to numerous long-term health complications,” she says. “Most people will not feel a difference if they are low in vitamin D; however, some report fatigue, low back pain, poor immune health, and recurrent injuries that do not heal.”
While it is always best to discuss taking any supplements with your doctor first (especially for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding), vitamin D is generally recommended for most individuals, especially those who have limited sun exposure, Bogden says. Many people get the bulk of their vitamin D exposure from sunlight, so if you live somewhere with long, dark winters, it can be extra-challenging to meet your needs without supplementing.
Fortunately, even though it can be challenging to supplement vitamin D through your diet, there are plenty of solid supplement options, from capsules to chews to gummies, on the market that can help you meet your needs.
Meet the expert: Kylene Bogden, RDN, CSSD, specializes in sports nutrition and functional medicine. She is also board-certified in integrative and functional nutrition (IFNCP) through the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy. She has served as an expert source for various national media outlets and been invited to speak at events across the country.
Vitamin D3 Supplement
Vitamin D3 Softgels
Vitamin D3 Gummies
Vitamin D3 Liquid
Emulsified Liquid Vitamin D3 + K2 MK7 Liposomal Supplement
mykind Organics Vegan D3 Chewable
Best Multivitamin With Vitamin D
Multivitamin for Immune Support
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Vitamin D Supplement
You want to choose a supplement that has vitamin D3, according to Bogden.
“Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol is the most absorbable and potent form, [whereas] Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is typically plant-based and not as effective at raising vitamin D levels in the body and thus is not recommended as often,” she explains.
When it comes to dosing, it can vary by individual, Bogden says. However, generally speaking, 1,000-10,000 IU per day is the standard range.
“Ideally, your doctor would test your vitamin D at an annual physical and provide specific recommendations,” she says. “Genetics, as well as how much sunlight you are exposed to, will play a major role.”