Today we’re going to look at the best Vitamin D supplements and why you need them!
Even if you don’t know much about nutrition and your body, you probably know that there are a few essential things that you need to consume for your overall health, such as Calcium, Protein, Vitamin C, and, of course, Vitamin D.
Vitamin D, isn’t that the one that you get from the sun?
Yes! The body synthesizes Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, and it is essential for healthy bones and a properly functioning immune system among other things.
But the fact is that if you live far north of the equator, such as in the UK, you probably aren’t getting enough Vitamin D, especially during the winter months.
Vitamin D deficiency can make you vulnerable to a huge range of health problems from cancer to depression.
This is why it is highly recommended that Britons take a Vitamin D supplement, certainly during the winter months, and sometimes all year round depending on lifestyle factors.
With that in mind, this article is going to look at why Vitamin D is so essential to our health and how much of it you need. We will also recommend our top choice Vitamin D supplements to ensure you are getting your daily Vitamin D dose safely.
Why You Need Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is available in two varieties: Vitamin D3, which our body produces as a result of sun exposure, and Vitamin D2, which our body produces from dietary factors.
The fact that the body must produce Vitamin D, which is done in the liver and kidneys, in response to external stimuli (either sunlight or food), means that it is not technically a vitamin in the same way as Vitamin C, K, and others. The fact that it is present in very few of the foods that we eat also sets it apart from other vitamins.
The principal reason why we need Vitamin D is that it enables the body to absorb, metabolize, and utilize Calcium. Without sufficient Vitamin D, the body can only absorb 10-15% of Calcium. Add Vitamin D into the mix and we are absorbing 30-40% of dietary Calcium. The Calcium and Vitamin D combination has also been shown to suppress appetite and therefore boost weight loss.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with serious bone conditions, such as soft bones (rickets) in children and both osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults.
Vitamin D is also essential for the proper immune system function by increasing the pathogen-fighting properties of the white blood cells and by reducing inflammation.
Insufficient Vitamin D has also been linked with depression, and some studies have suggested that Vitamin D can be used as a mood enhancer.
Laboratory tests also suggest that sufficient Vitamin D can help the body fight cancer, in particular prostate, breast, and colon cancer, by inhibiting cell multiplication, restricting tumour blood supply, and limiting the ability of cancer to spread.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to a variety of other medical conditions including heart disease, weight gain, autism, and autoimmune diseases. While the nature of the link between the vitamin and these medical conditions is unclear, it does seem that having sufficient Vitamin D can significantly minimize your risk as far as these conditions are concerned.
How do you know if you have a Vitamin D deficiency? There are a variety of pretty serious symptoms that may manifest including:
- Muscle weakness
- Weak bones and common fractures
- Pain, especially in the back
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Depression and moodiness
- Getting sick often and slow healing
- Impaired wound healing
- Hair loss
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, your doctor will probably recommend a simple blood test, which can identify Vitamin D deficiency.
Getting Sufficient Vitamin D
So, how much Vitamin D do you actually need?
Health experts suggest that the ideal dose of Vitamin D for most adults is 10 micrograms (mcg or μg) per day. You may also see this dosage referred to as IU, which stands for International Units. In which case, the daily recommended dose is 400 IU.
The best way for the body to get the Vitamin D that it needs is through sun exposure. To get enough, you need to expose a significant amount of your skin to the midday sun for 20-30 minutes, without sunscreen, three or four times a week.
It is easy to see how most Britons aren’t be getting enough Vitamin D via this method during the winter months. And even if you did decide to sunbathe at midday in December, you probably still won’t be getting enough Vitamin D if you live in the UK.
If you live anywhere with a latitude more than 37 degrees north or south of the equator, then during the winter months the force of the sun isn’t strong enough to trigger your body to produce Vitamin D.
This problem is exacerbated for anyone with darker skin. The more melanin you have, the more sun exposure you need to trigger Vitamin D production.
If you can’t get Vitamin D from the sun, an alternative is to get it from foods. But surprisingly few of the foods that we eat contain Vitamin D, and the ones that we do eat contain Vitamin D in very modest amounts.
- Oily fish such as Salmon and Mackerel (approximately 8-9 mcg per portion)
- Mushrooms that have been exposed to the sun (varies greatly depending on sun exposure from 2.5 to more than 100 mcg per 100 grams – you can find the best mushroom powders here)
- Liver (approximately 1 mcg per portion)
- Egg yolks (approximately 1 mcg per yolk)
Some foods are also artificially fortified with Vitamin D, such as breakfast cereals and Orange Juice. But your average bowl of breakfast cereal probably only contains 3-4 mcg of Vitamin D.
The limited availability of foods containing Vitamin D is the reason why doctors tend to recommend using supplements as an alternative, reliable source of Vitamin D.
Best Vitamin D Supplements
Below you will find our list of the best Vitamin D supplements that you can buy today.
If you look around, you will see that most supplements contain a minimum of 1,000 IU, which is about two and a half times the daily recommendation. Some contain 4,000 IU, which is around the recommended maximum daily dosage.
For this reason, we are only recommending supplements that contain a maximum of 1,000 IU of Vitamin D.
Fight Vitamin D 1,000 IU
Get a sensible 1,000 IU per day dose with this one-year supply of Vitamin D supplements from the Fight Store.
These are great quality tablets that are Vegan certified and Gluten-Free and GMO-Free with no added sugar or preservatives.
The tablets also come in a fully recyclable bottle and box, and the company makes a modest donation to the UK charity FareShare with every purchase.
- £0.05 per dose
- 365 tablets
- 1,000 IU of Vitamin D
- Recyclable bottle and box
Nature’s Aid Vitamin D 10 mg
Anyone worried about too much Vitamin D who would prefer a lower dose closer to the daily recommended limit will appreciate this option from Nature’s Aid.
It contains 400 IU of Vitamin D, which is the daily recommended dose for adults. No matter how much Vitamin D you might be getting from your diet, you won’t need to worry about having too much.
It uses a clean recipe that is free from artificial colours, flavour, and preservatives, as well as lactose, yeast, and gluten.
- £0.06 per dose
- 90 tablets
- 400 IU
- No artificial additives
- Lactose, yeast, and gluten free
Nutriburst Vitamin D and Calcium Gummies
We’ve made an exception to our 1,000 IU rule for this great vitamin, which contains 2,000 IU of Vitamin D and around 3,500 IU of Calcium to give you a great bone boost.
These are also lemon flavoured gummies that make a nice tasty treat and each contains only 5 calories.
Anyone sick of popping supplement pills will appreciate this fun and effective option.
- £0.24 per dose
- 60 tablets
- 2,000 IU
Biomed Vitamin D 1,000 IU
This affordable Vitamin D choice is developed and manufactured in the UK, so you can be sure that they are made to strict local standards.
Get almost a two-year supply in a single, fully recyclable, bottle, with each easy-to-swallow micro-tablet costing you just £0.01.
The supplement is vegetarian-friendly, free of gluten and other major allergens, and completely GMO-free.
- £0.01 per dose
- 500 tablets
- 1,000 IU of Vitamin D
- 100% recyclable bottle
- Manufactured in the UK
Nutrition Geeks Vitamin D 1,000 IU
Nutrition Geeks gave a great quality 1,000 IU Vitamin D supplement that is vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Cruelty-Free, and created in an environment with a low carbon footprint.
As well as being among the most affordable options on the market, they come in letterbox-friendly packaging so you never have to worry about missing your delivery.
This is also a great option for anyone who hates swallowing tablets as they are extra small and easy to swallow.
- £0.02 per dose
- 180 tablets
- 1,000 IU
- Low carbon footprint
- Vegetarian and Vegan
Viabiotics Ultra Vitamin D Tablets
If you are a fan of the popular Viabiotics line, then this 1,000 IU Vitamin D supplement will appeal.
This is a good, safe dosage that is made to be vegetarian friendly and without any nasties added that you can sometimes see with cheap options.
But one of the things that stands out with this brand is that they are committed to creating packaging that reduces carbon emissions, which will appeal to anyone concerned about carbon emissions.
- £0.05 per dose
- 96 tablets
- 1,000 IU
- Packaged to reduce carbon emissions
Can You Get Too Much Vitamin D?
You can’t “overdose” on the amount of Vitamin D (D3) that your body produces as a result of exposure to sunlight. Your body has a natural way to regulate and prevent excessive production of this sort of Vitamin D.
However, when it comes to the Vitamin D (D2) that you get from foods and supplements, too much of this type of Vitamin D can have detrimental effects.
Too much Vitamin D can deplete the body of other essential nutrients, especially Vitamin K. This is essential for allowing blood to clot in order to heal wounds.
Too much Vitamin D can also result in a build-up of calcium in the body that can actually weaken bones, and also cause damage to the kidneys and the heart.
How much is too much? Current evidence suggests that women and children over the age of 11 shouldn’t be taking more than 100 mcg of dietary Vitamin D per day.
Larger male adults can probably get away with a little bit more. Children under 10 shouldn’t be consuming more than 50 mcg per day, and infants no more than 25 mcg per day.
Considering how little Vitamin D naturally occurs in food, most Vitamin D overdoses are usually the result of consuming excessive supplements.
Symptoms of excessive Vitamin D consumption include nausea, constipation, confusion, abnormal heart rhythm, and kidney stones.
How To Take Vitamin D Supplements?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it is best absorbed by the body in the presence of dietary fats. So, take your supplements after a meal that contains high-quality fats.
Are There Any Medications That Can Cause Vitamin D Deficiency?
A number of medications can undermine the body’s ability to absorb and metabolize Vitamin D and result in Vitamin D deficiencies.
- Steroid based medications, such as prednisone;
- Weight loss drugs;
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs such as cholestyramine;
- Seizure drugs such as Phenobarbital and Dilantin;
Vitamin D is one of the most important essential nutrients when it comes to maintaining your overall health. It is essential for strong bones, a strong immune system, and staving off depression.
While our bodies are designed to produce Vitamin D in response to sun exposure, increasingly indoor lifestyles and the weakness of the sun during the winter months in northern climes mean that many people are Vitamin D deficient.
As Vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods, doctors suggest taking a Vitamin D supplement to ensure that you are getting all the Vitamin D that you need. How much do you need? The daily recommended dose is 10 mcg/400 IU, with a maximum recommended dose for adults being 100 mcg/4,000 IU.
For the best supplements that give you just the right amount of Vitamin D, check out our list above.
- Vitamin D and your health: Breaking old rules, raising new hopes – Harvard Health Publishing
- Vitamin D, an essential nutrient with versatile functions – PubMed NCBI
- Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms and Treatment – Cleveland Clinic
Last update on 2021-05-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API