The 9 Best Vitamin D Supplements of 2024

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus to maintain optimal bone density. It also plays a role in inflammation, immune health, cell growth, and muscle function. Although vitamin D has been linked to various health conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, the relationship between vitamin D and these diseases is not fully understood, and studies show that taking a vitamin D supplement likely does not prevent these diseases.

Our natural way of getting vitamin D is from the sun; ultraviolet (UV) rays hit our skin and stimulate the production of vitamin D. That said, a considerable number of people lack adequate sun exposure, contributing to vitamin D deficiency being considered a global health concern. Unfortunately, ir only occurs naturally in some foods, including salmon and mushrooms, although not in very large amounts. Other foods are fortified with vitamin D, such as dairy products.

There also remains an ongoing debate regarding the advantages of vitamin D supplementation in healthy people who do not have a vitamin D deficiency. Recent research indicates that the possible benefits may be limited. People who are at the highest risk for vitamin D deficiency include those with limited sun exposure, osteoporosis, malabsorptive disorders, and breastfed infants. Postmenopausal women and people with kidney disease should speak with their healthcare provider to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks of taking a vitamin D supplement.

When looking for a vitamin D supplement, first check with your healthcare provider to determine if you should take a supplement and what dose is appropriate for you. To find the best vitamin D supplements, we analyzed the latest research on vitamin D supplementation and spoke with registered dietitians and a physician. We chose third-party tested supplements that contain the D3 form of vitamin D, which is a more absorbable form. We also took into account serving size, dose, added ingredients, and value.

Theralogix Thera-D 2,000
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Why We Like It

Theralogix Thera-D 2,000 is NSF Contents Certified and comes in a small capsule that is easy to swallow, which is why Registered Dietitian Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RDN, LDN, recommends it as one of the best vitamin D supplements. Not to mention, it’s relatively affordable at about 16 cents per serving.

One tablet has 2,000 IU of vitamin D3, and while recommendations vary on how much vitamin D is needed to maintain adequate blood levels, the Endocrine Society recommends 1,500–2,000 IU/day to achieve blood levels of 75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL). Note that blood levels of 50 nmol/L are considered adequate.

Theralogix Thera-D 2,000 also contains a small amount of calcium at 50 mg (4% DV). While vitamin D and calcium work together to promote bone density, it is not generally recommended to take a supplement with vitamin D and calcium unless you have osteoporosis, as the risks of taking calcium supplements may outweigh the benefits. However, the small amount of calcium in Theralogix Thera-D 2,000 is low and unlikely to pose a risk.

It’s Worth Noting

This supplement also contains 50 mg of calcium, which some people may not need.

Product Details

  • Form: Tablet
  • Type: Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
  • Serving Size: 1 tablet
  • Dose: 2,000 IU vitamin D and 50 mg calcium
  • Other Ingredients: Microcrystalline cellulose, croscarmellose sodium, vegetable stearic acid, silicon dioxide, vegetable magnesium stearate, clear vegetable coating (hypromellose, glycerine)
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes – NSF certified

Mary Ruth’s Vegan Vitamin D3 + K2 Liquid Spray
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Why We Like It

We love Mary Ruth’s Vegan Vitamin D3 + K2 Liquid Spray because it’s easy to administer, has no added sugar, and is a trusted, third-party-tested brand. You can adjust the dose depending on the age of your child. It can also be used by adults and is, therefore, a good pick for the entire family.

Children’s bones are rapidly growing and developing, and vitamin D + vitamin K2 works together with calcium and phosphorus to build strong bones. If kids are not consuming foods fortified with vitamin D, are playing mostly indoors, or are using sunscreen when outside, they may not be getting enough vitamin D to support healthy bone growth. Check with your child’s healthcare provider if you are worried your child is deficient in vitamin D. 

If a supplement is warranted, you can feel good about Mary Ruth’s Vegan Vitamin D3 + K2 Liquid Spray. The recommended dose for kids (ages 1–13 years) is six sprays (note that the serving size on the bottle is eight sprays), which delivers the RDA of 600 IU. Plus, Mary Ruth’s Vegan Vitamin D3 Liquid Spray is non-GMO, free of soy, gluten, and dairy, and third-party tested by the Clean Label Project for purity and potency. 

It’s Worth Noting

If your child puts up a fight when it’s time to take this supplement, the liquid form may be easier to mix into another beverage.

Product Details

  • Form: Liquid
  • Type: Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) + K2
  • Serving Size: 6 sprays (1–13 years), 8 sprays (14+)
  • Dose: 600–800 IU
  • Other Ingredients: Organic olive oil
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes – Clean Label Project

Amazon HUM Here Comes the Sun Vitamin D3 Immune System Support Supplement
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Why We Like It 

The vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in supplements is typically sourced from lanolin, which isn’t suitable if you are following a vegan diet, but HUM Here Comes the Sun Immune Supplement with Vitamin D3 sources its vitamin D3 from lichen, making it vegan-friendly. This third-party tested and Clean Label Project certified supplement comes in an easy-to-swallow softgel containing 2,000 IU of vitamin D. This dose is on the higher end of the recommended 1,500–2,000 IU per day by the Endocrine Society, so as always, check with your healthcare provider to determine if it’s a safe and effective dose for you.

HUM Here Comes the Sun Immune Supplement with Vitamin D3 also contains organic olive oil, which helps promote the absorption of vitamin D since it’s a fat-soluble vitamin. The company also uses 100% post-consumer plastic for packaging to prevent plastic bottles in the ocean!

It’s Worth Noting

The dose may be too high for some people.

Product Details

  • Form: Softgel
  • Type: Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 
  • Serving Size: 1 softgel
  • Dose: 2,000 IU
  • Other Ingredients: Organic extra virgin olive oil, modified starch/tapioca (Cassava root), glycerin, purified water
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes – Clean Label Project

Sports Research Vitamin D3 + K-2
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Why We Like It

Some vitamin D supplements—such as Sports Research Vitamin D3 + K-2—also contain vitamin K2. That’s because vitamin K2 plays a role in maintaining bone density, and vitamin D and K2 taken together may significantly improve bone density, according to studies. Studies show that vitamin K2 also improves bone strength and prevents fractures in postmenopausal women. However, more research is needed to understand the effects of taking vitamin D and K2 together.

If your healthcare provider signs off on you taking a vitamin D supplement with K2, Sports Research Vitamin D-3 and K-2 is one you can feel good about because it is third-party certified. One vegan capsule delivers 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 from lichen and 100 mcg of vitamin K2 from fermented chickpeas. Both vitamin D and vitamin K are fat-soluble vitamins, and this supplement contains fat from coconut oil to improve absorption

Sports Research Vitamin D-3 and K-2 is Non-GMO Project Verified and Vegan Certified with the capsule made from Plantgel. This product is also free of wheat, gluten, soy, milk, eggs, fish, and shellfish. It’s also third-party tested for ingredient accuracy and lack of contaminants.

It’s Worth Noting

This supplement contains more Vitamin D3 and K2 than others on our list. It also should be avoided by people with tree nut allergies. We recommend consulting with your healthcare provider before adding it to your regimen.

Product Details

  • Form: Veggie Softgel
  • Type: Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) + Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7)
  • Serving Size: 1 softgel
  • Dose: 5,000 IU Vitamin D and 100 mcg Vitamin K2
  • Other Ingredients: Coconut MCT oil, Plantgel capsule (non-GMO modified tapioca starch, vegetable glycerine, purified water, turmeric (for color), olive oil.
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes

NOW Supplements Liquid Vitamin D-3
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Why We Like It

NOW Foods Liquid Vitamin D3 is a convenient, budget-friendly option if you prefer a liquid vitamin D supplement. It is also third-party tested for purity and potency. The serving size of four drops provides 400 IU of vitamin D, which is a lower amount than some of our other picks, although it’s easy to adjust the serving size based on your needs by using more or fewer drops.

NOW’s Liquid Vitamin D3 drops are free of artificial colors, flavors, and sugars, harmful levels of pesticides, hydrogenated oils, and unlabeled allergens, according to the company. They are also egg, dairy, corn, and soy-free, although they contain coconut oil and should be avoided by people with tree nut allergies. These drops are unflavored and can be taken directly or mixed into your favorite juice or smoothie.

It’s Worth Noting

More drops than the recommended serving size may be needed to achieve the required dose. The dropper can easily break or not dispense properly. People with tree nut allergies should avoid this supplement.

Product Details

  • Form: Liquid
  • Type: Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 
  • Serving Size: 4 drops
  • Dose: 400 IU
  • Other Ingredients: MCT Oil (Medium chain triglycerides) from coconut/palm kernel oil 
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes – Intertek GMP Supplement Certification

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Gummies Sport
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Why We Like It

We love Nordic Naturals supplements, and Nordic Naturals VItamin D3 Gummies are no exception. If you prefer a gummy vitamin, this one is tasty and lower in sugar than many other brands. Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Gummies are NSF Certified for Sport, which means they are tested for substances that are banned by major sports organizations. For the quality and dose, this is a budget-friendly option.

The serving size is just one gummy, which has 1,000 IU of vitamin D3. But remember to check with your healthcare provider to determine if this dose is appropriate for you. Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Gummies are non-GMO, vegetarian-friendly, and free of gluten, milk derivatives, and artificially derived colors and flavors.

It’s Worth Noting

While we love gummies, it’s always important to keep gummy vitamins out of reach of children, as they can mistake them for candy, but even more important with a vitamin D supplement to prevent toxicity. 

Product Details

  • Form: Gummy
  • Type: Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)   
  • Serving Size: 1 gummy
  • Dose: 1,000 IU
  • Other Ingredients: Organic tapioca syrup, organic cane sugar, purified water, pectin, citric acid, fumaric acid, natural flavor, sodium citrate dihydrate, fruit and vegetable juice (color).
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes – NSF Certified for Sport

Garden of Life Vitamin D, Vitamin Code Raw D3
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Why We Like It

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw D3 is a high-dose vitamin D supplement that is third-party certified by ConsumerLab.com through their voluntary testing program and delivers 5,000 IU of vitamin D3. While many people may not require such a high dose, physicians may prescribe a high dose of vitamin D to correct deficiencies. A high dose could range anywhere from 2,000 IU to over 50,000 IU and could be given daily or weekly. Since the tolerable upper limit for vitamin D is 4,000 IU/day, we don’t recommend taking this supplement unless under medical supervision in order to prevent toxicity. 

If you are being monitored by your healthcare provider, high doses of vitamin D can be safe and effective in the short term. In fact, The Endocrine Society recommends that adults with vitamin D deficiency be treated with either 50,000 IU of vitamin D once a week for eight weeks or 6,000 IU daily for eight weeks, followed by a maintenance dose of 1,500–2,000 IU/day.

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw D3 also stands out as it delivers vitamin D3 along with omega-9, probiotics, and live enzymes to promote absorption. We also appreciate that Garden of Life prioritizes whole food ingredients and traceability, and this supplement is organic, non-GMO, and certified gluten-free by NSF.

It’s Worth Noting

The dose exceeds the tolerable upper limit of 4,000 IU/day, so consult with your healthcare provider before taking it. This supplement contains probiotics and a digestive enzyme blend can be benficial for gut health, but may not be needed by everyone.

Product Details

  • Form: Capsule
  • Type: Vitamin D3  
  • Serving Size: 1 capsule
  • Dose: 5,000 IU
  • Other Ingredients: High omega-9 cracked-wall chlorella, raw organic fruit and vegetable blend, raw probiotic and enzyme blend.
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes – ConsumerLab.com certified

Ritual Essential Prenatal
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Why We Like It

We love Ritual’s Prenatal Vitamin because it is third-party certified by Clean Label Project, and the ingredients are 100% traceable. This prenatal vitamin has also been awarded the Clean Label Project Purity Award, signifying Ritual’s commitment to purity and transparency. This supplement delivers the essential nutrients for pregnancy, including folic acid as methylated folate, choline, iron, omega-3s, and, of course, vitamin D. If you are pregnant and don’t spend adequate time in the sun, you could be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Severe vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy impacts the bone development of the baby and puts newborns at risk of fractures. Most prenatal vitamins contain vitamin D, but the levels vary. 

The RDA for pregnant women is 600 IU, but experts believe that more may be required. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says 1,000–2,000 IU/day is considered safe in pregnancy and advises against higher doses due to a lack of studies. However, others have found levels as high as 4,000 IU to be safe and effective at improving outcomes in mothers and infants.

A serving size of Rituals Prenatal Vitamin includes two vegan capsules daily and delivers 2,000 IU of vitamin D3, along with many nutrients found in a standard prenatal vitamin.

It’s Worth Noting 

Keep in mind that this supplement does not contain vitamins A or C and some minerals, including calcium and zinc. As always, check with your healthcare provider to determine your individual requirements and the best dose for you. This is also a pricier option.

Product Details

  • Form: Capsules
  • Type: Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 
  • Serving Size: Two capsules
  • Dose: 2,000 IU
  • Other Ingredients: Stomach acid-resistant outer vegan capsule (hypromellose, gellan gum), inner vegan capsule (hypromellose), silica, cellulose, l-leucine 
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes – Clean Label Project certified

Garden of Life Vitamin D3 Liquid 1000 IU Per Spray
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Why We Like It

If choosing an organic supplement is important to you, look no further. Garden of Life Vitamin D3 Organic Spray is not only organic but also non-GMO, kosher, and vegan. While not third-party certified by one of our preferred organizations, Garden of Life is a reputable supplement brand that carefully traces and sources its ingredients.

One spray daily delivers 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 sourced from lichen, a vegan source of vitamin D. You can spray it directly in your mouth or into a beverage. In addition to vitamin D, Garden of Life Vitamin D3 Organic Spray contains an omega-3 fatty acid blend from pumpkin and cranberry seed oils that provide 4 milligrams of omega-3s per serving. Taking vitamin D with fat, like omega-3s, enhances absorption. 

It’s Worth Noting

The spray has a vanilla flavor, but the taste doesn’t appeal to everyone. This could be because it has sugar substitute stevia. This product is also not intended for children since one serving is more than the RDA for kids. Keep in mind that you must refrigerate the spray after opening and use it within 90 days.

Product Details

  • Form: Liquid
  • Type: Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 
  • Serving Size: 1 spray
  • Dose: 1,000 IU
  • Other Ingredients: Omega-rich blend, organic vanilla flavor, non-GMO vitamin E (from sunflower), organic sunflower lecithin, organic rosemary extract, organic stevia extract (leaf)
  • Third-Party Tested: No

For healthy individuals with adequate vitamin D levels, there may not be any demonstrable advantages of taking a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D levels less than 30 nmol/L are associated with vitamin D deficiency, and you should speak with your healthcare provider to determine if a vitamin D supplement would benefit you and at what dosage. 

The following groups of people may benefit from a vitamin D supplement.

  • People with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that leads to a decrease in bone density, which can increase the risk of fractures and falls. Taking a vitamin D supplement helps maintain bone density in men and women with osteoporosis, which can prevent the risk of fractures and falls.  
  • Older adults. Older adults are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency because the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D from the sun declines with age. Older adults also tend to spend more time indoors. It’s important to note that Vitamin D supplementation has not been shown to benefit postmenopausal women who do not have osteoporosis or a vitamin D deficiency. However, older adults who are deficient in vitamin D may benefit from taking a supplement. Speak with your healthcare provider to determine the best option for you. 
  • Breastfed infants. Breastmilk does not provide adequate vitamin D for infants, so it is recommended that babies who are exclusively breastfed, as well as those who consume under 32 ounces of formula per day, take a daily vitamin D supplement with 400 IU of vitamin D.
  • People with limited sun exposure. Spending 10–30 minutes outside each day is enough for most people to obtain adequate vitamin D. However, some people have limited sun exposure due to living in colder climates, wearing clothing that covers the skin, or spending most of their time indoors. If you have limited sun exposure, you could be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Speak with your healthcare provider to determine if a supplement would benefit you. 
  • People with darker skin. Higher amounts of melanin in darker skin reduce the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from the sun. Therefore, these populations may have lower vitamin D levels. However, it’s unclear if supplementing with vitamin D improves health outcomes in these populations.
  • People with fat malabsorption. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means if the body can’t absorb fat properly, it won’t absorb vitamin D either. If you have a condition that inhibits fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, you could be at risk of vitamin D deficiency and should speak with your healthcare provider about whether supplementation is right for you. 
  • People with a higher body fat percentage. Fat cells can essentially trap vitamin D and keep it from being released into the bloodstream. Therefore, people with more body fat may have lower vitamin D levels and may need more vitamin D to achieve optimal levels.
  • Those who have had bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery reduces the absorption of several vitamins, including vitamin D. If you’ve had bariatric surgery, it’s important that you speak with your healthcare provider before taking a vitamin D supplement as recommendations vary from doses of 3,000 IU per day to 50,000 IU several times per week.
  • Pregnant people. Getting enough vitamin D during pregnancy ensures healthy bone development of the baby. If you are pregnant and don’t spend adequate time in the sun, you could be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. The RDA for pregnancy is 600 IU per day. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) safely recommends 1,000–2,000 IU per day. Most prenatal vitamins contain this amount, if not more.

The following people may not benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement. 

  • Those with adequate vitamin D levels. If you do not have a vitamin D deficiency, taking a vitamin D supplement will likely not lead to increased health benefits. Getting 10–30 minutes of mid-day sunlight several times per week should be sufficient for most people to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D.  
  • People at risk for hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia occurs when there is too much calcium in the blood. This can lead to weakened bones, as well as problems with your kidneys and heart. Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium. Therefore, if you take a medication that increases calcium levels or have a health condition, like sarcoidosis or primary hyperparathyroidism, and you also take a vitamin D supplement, it could lead to hypercalcemia, which can cause kidney stones and other health problems. Keep in mind that many vitamin D supplements also contain calcium.
  • People with chronic kidney disease (CKD). People with CKD may or may not benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement. While kidney disease can affect the body’s ability to convert vitamin D into an active form, the risks of taking vitamin D may outweigh the benefits for some people with CKD. For example, vitamin D increases calcium levels, which can increase the hardening of the arteries and heart disease in those with CKD. If you have chronic kidney disease, speak with your healthcare provider to determine if you should take a vitamin D supplement.
  • Postmenopausal women without osteoporosis. Vitamin D supplementation is not indicated for postmenopausal women who do not have osteoporosis or vitamin D deficiency. Research shows that vitamin D supplementation in this population does not prevent fractures or falls. In fact, studies have shown that taking vitamin D could increase the risk of fractures and falls in this population, and the USPSTF recommends against supplementation in this population.

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.  

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third-party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab.com.

It’s important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts, including our staff registered dietitians, has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend and gives more details on what we specifically look for in supplements.

The following registered dietitians and doctor gave their expert opinions on specific vitamin D supplements, as well as information on who should or shouldn’t take a vitamin D supplement.

  • Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND, menopause dietitian and doctor in clinical nutrition
  • Malina Malkani, MS, RDN, CDN, pediatric dietitian, and author
  • Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RDN, LDN, intuitive eating dietitian for moms
  • Shushy Rita Setrakian, MS, RD, works with patients to meet their health goals and educates patients on the appropriate usage of supplements to optimize their nutritional status and overall health. She also specializes in supplement research and analysis.

Vitamin D is found in two main forms in supplements: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is mostly found in plants, while vitamin D3 is from animal and plant sources such as lichen. Vitamin D3 is also the form of vitamin D that the body makes from sunlight. Both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are well absorbed, and taking them alongside fat enhances absorption. However, research shows that vitamin D3 raises vitamin D levels more than D2.

 Vitamin D supplements are available in capsules, soft gels, tablets, liquids, sprays, and gummies.

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Some vitamin D supplements contain other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, calcium, or magnesium. Vitamin D is also commonly found in multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. Therefore, if you take a multivitamin with vitamin D alongside a vitamin D supplement, it could result in taking too much vitamin D.

Always check with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure it doesn’t negatively interact with any other medications or supplements you are taking.

Vitamin D supplements can interact with a number of medications, including the following:

Statins. Taking vitamin D supplements alongside a statin can reduce the efficacy of the statin. Statins reduce cholesterol, and vitamin D is made from cholesterol, so this can reduce how much vitamin D is made in the body.

Steroids. Steroid medications can interfere with vitamin D metabolism and decrease calcium absorption. 

Orlistat. This weight loss drug can reduce the absorption of vitamin D.

Thiazide diuretics. This class of diuretics decreases how much calcium is excreted from the body. If taken alongside vitamin D, this could lead to hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood), which can lead to an array of issues, including weakened bones and kidney stones.

Heart and blood pressure medications. Check with your provider before taking a vitamin D supplement if you take heart or blood pressure medications. These medications can cause hypercalcemia when taken alongside vitamin D.  

Multivitamins. If you’re taking a vitamin D supplement and taking a separate multivitamin that contains vitamin D, you could be at risk of taking too much vitamin D, leading to toxicity. It’s recommended to not exceed 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D, which is the amount needed to maintain healthy bones and calcium metabolism, is as follows:

  • Babies <1 year old: 400 international units (IU) per day
  • 1–50 years old: 600 IU/day
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding: 600 IU/day
  • >70 years old: 800 IU/day

However, you may need to take more from a supplement to achieve adequate blood levels of vitamin D. Not everyone needs a vitamin D supplement. If your provider recommends that you take vitamin D, the amount will depend on various factors, including your age, other health conditions you may have, and if you have a deficiency.

“Research is now showing that between 1,500 to 2,000 IU may be required to maintain adequate stores in some people and you may need even higher doses in the short-term to replete a deficiency. It’s best to have your levels checked before you start a supplement and then work with a healthcare professional to determine the best dose for you,” Anzlovar says. 

Babies and children should not exceed the following amount of vitamin D per day:

  • 0–6 months – 1,000 IU
  • 7–12 months – 1,500 IU
  • 1–3 years – 2,500 IU
  • 4–8 years – 3,000 IU

While it’s recommended that adults don’t exceed 4,000 IU of vitamin per day, some healthcare providers may prescribe a higher dose of vitamin D for a shorter period of time to correct a deficiency. If taking a dose over 4,000 IU, make sure it is under the supervision of a physician.

The best time to take a vitamin D supplement is with a meal. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that fat helps increase the absorption of vitamin D.

What’s the best form of vitamin D to take? 

“The most commonly available forms of Vitamin D supplements are Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Both are beneficial for health, but research indicates that Vitamin D3 is more effective at raising and maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D in the body,” says Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND, menopause dietitian and doctor in clinical nutrition.

Keep in mind that if you are following a vegan diet, you’ll want to look for a D3 that indicates it is a vegan supplement, while D2 is derived from plants.

What are the symptoms of low vitamin D? 

“Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include poor sleep, fatigue, bone and muscle pain, muscle weakness, poor appetite, stress fractures, depression, and frequent respiratory infections. In babies and children, vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a rare disease that causes the bones to become frail, thin, and deformed, says Malkani.

However, most people don’t actually experience symptoms, says Anzlovar. Or they may not experience them until the deficiency is severe, says Esocbar. “If you’re not getting at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight on the majority of your body at least 3 times per week (without sunscreen), you may be at risk for deficiency and it’s worth getting your levels checked,” Anzlovar recommends.

What happens if you take too much vitamin D? 

“The Tolerable Upper Limit for Vitamin D is 4,000 IU per day, though short-term higher doses to correct deficiency have been shown to be safe and effective. Since vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, your body doesn’t excrete any extra you consume, which can lead to hypercalcemia (too much calcium absorption). This could lead to kidney failure and may contribute to other potential health concerns like cardiovascular disease,” says Anzlovar.

Vitamin D toxicity is most often caused by taking too much vitamin D from supplements. It is not common to get too much vitamin D from the sun or food. Therefore, it’s important to read supplement labels and not exceed the upper limit of 4,000 IU per day, unless recommended otherwise by a healthcare professional. 

Lainey Younkin, MS, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian with over 10 years of experience writing about nutrition and health, as well as counseling individuals with various nutrition conditions. She carefully analyzes the most up-to-date research before recommending supplements and always prioritizes supplements that are third-party approved with solid research to support that they are effective.

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