12 Best Vitamin D3 Supplements of 2024

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it dissolves in fats and oils and can be stored in your body for a long time.

Two main dietary forms exist:
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Found in some animal foods, like fatty fish and egg yolks.
  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Found in some plants, mushrooms, and yeasts.
The Global Vitamin D Market size was worth US$ 1.1 billion in 2022 (R), and it is estimated to reach a valuation of US$ 1.7 billion by the end of 2028, expanding at an annual compound rate of 7.0% between 2023 and 2028.

Related: Vitamin D 101: Deficiency Symptoms, Benefits, Sources, and Side Effects

What is Vitamin D Good For?

Vitamin D helps keep you bones strong by aiding in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It's involved in maintaining a healthy immune system, mood regulation, heart health, and even weight loss

What is the Best Form of Vitamin D? 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it does not dissolve in water and is absorbed best in your bloodstream when paired with high-fat foods. For this reason, it's recommended to take vitamin D supplements with a meal to enhance absorption.

Vitamin D3 vs D2? Both vitamin D2 and D3 are effectively absorbed into the bloodstream. However, vitamin D2 and D3 are not equal when it comes to raising your vitamin D status. Of the two, D3 (cholecalciferol) seems to be almost twice as effective at increasing blood levels of vitamin D as D2 (ergocalciferol) (R). 

The "groundbreaking" study from the University of Surrey (2017) was conducted to determine, between vitamins D2 and D3, which was more effective in raising levels in the body.

The trial was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) — "the largest U.K. public funder of nonmedical bioscience" — and the Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC).

At the conclusion of the study, researchers found vitamin D3 to be twice as effective in raising levels in the body in comparison to D2.
 
Which form of vitamin D is best absorbed? In one study (2019), the microencapsulated form of vitamin D was the most bioavailable. 

Is vitamin D better absorbed in liquid form? Although no studies have been conducted specifically on liquid vitamin D-3, liquid supplements are considered more bioavailable.

For even better absorption of vitamin D, you must include vitamin K, magnesium, and zinc in your diet. They speed up the absorption procedure and reduce your likelihood of being vitamin D deficient.

What is the Difference between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3    

vitamin D3 vs D2

What is the Best Strength of Vitamin D to Take?

How much vitamin D3 is recommended? Consuming 400–800 IU (10–20 mcg) of vitamin D should meet the needs of 97–98% of healthy people. However, several studies show that taking more than this is linked to greater health benefits.

These research implies that consuming 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 mcg) of vitamin D daily should be ideal for most people to reach healthy vitamin D blood levels.

However, don’t consume more than 4,000 IU of vitamin D without your doctor’s permission. It exceeds the safe upper limits of intake and is not linked to more health benefits.

Best Vitamin D3 Supplement Brands of 2024

If you are looking for the best vitamin D3 supplement, we have done our research and shortlisted the best for you. The list is based on recommendations by third party organizations, online reviews and popularity on search results and forums. Although there are many vitamin D supplement customer reviews on many online sites, we have curated some of the helpful ones below.

Here are our 12 best vitamin D3 supplements that you can buy over the counter or online today.

1. NatureWise Vitamin D3 1,000 iu (25 mcg)

NatureWise Vitamin D3
Check Price on Amazon - #1 Best Seller in Vitamin D Supplements (Amazon Best Sellers).

About this item:
  • 4.8 out of 5 - more than 130,000 global ratings
  • MOST ACTIVE FORM: NatureWise Vitamin D3 in organic olive oil helps to support the health of teeth and bones, provide immune support, and promote proper muscle function.
  • RECOMMENDED DOSE FOR KIDS & MOMS: 1000IU is the recommended amount of vitamin D3 for growing children and expecting mothers, but our product is intended to safely encourage calcium absorption and immune system strength in any user.
  • SUNSHINE IN A BOTTLE: The Vitamin Council recommends daily vitamin D supplementation for most adults to achieve and maintain optimal levels, regardless of weather or season.
  • ESSENTIAL VITAMIN: Our formula delivers the same biologically active form of vitamin D that the body produces as a result of sun exposure, without the harmful of UVB rays.
  • ENHANCED ABSORPTION: Our Vitamin D 1000 IU softgels are easy to swallow. Some studies indicate that vitamin D3 in liquid softgel form is more bioavailable than powdered or tablet forms.
Vitamin D supplements by NatureWise are available in various dose strengths:

2. Sports Research Vitamin D3 + K2 


Check Price on Amazon - Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3 Best Seller in Vitamin D Supplements.

NEW SOFTGEL SHELL: Sports Research Vitamin D3+K2 Plant-gel capsules now contain added Turmeric Root Powder in the outer softgel shell. This added plant-based yellow color helps protect the active ingredients inside against photo-degradation that may occur from exposure to UV light. While the appearance has changed, we can assure you that our Vitamin D3+K2 still contains the same great ingredients you know and love

Created in 1980, Sports Research is a privately-owned business born from a passion for fitness, wellness, and healing.

More than 100,000 customer reviews and a 4.8 out of 5 overall rating on Amazon. 
  • Contains 5000 IU (125mcg) of Vegan Vitamin D3 & 100 mcg of Vitamin K2 as MK-7. Suitable for those whose vitamin D level is deficient or insufficient.
  • Made with Vitashine D3 - a patent, plant based form of Vitamin D3 from Lichen and MenaQ7 - a patent form of MK7 from Chickpea
  • 100% Plant based - Vegan Certified & Non-GMO Verified. Soy, Gluten, Gelatin & Carrageenan free
Vitamin D supplements by Sports Research are available in various dose strengths:

3. Nature Made Vitamin D3 - Best Budget Vitamin D Supplement


BUY ON AMAZON - #4 Best Sellers in Vitamin D Supplements on Amazon

If you're looking to save money, Nature Made offers some of the best supplements on the market at a competitively low price point. Its softgels containing 2000 IU of vitamin D3 currently cost less than $6 for a 90-day supply and have earned USP verification — a third-party certification that attests to the product's quality in terms of manufacturing and ingredients.

These softgels do contain gelatin, so they're not suitable for vegans, vegetarians, or those who avoid pork for religious reasons. Nature Made does, however, sell vitamin D in tablet form, which is vegetarian-friendly (although still not vegan) and still USP-verified.

Nature Made also offers vitamin D in other dose strengths, ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 IU, so there are options for folks with varying degrees of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Be sure to check with your doctor to find out what dosage is right for you.

Vitamin D by Nature Made available in various dose strengths:
About this item:
  • #1 Pharmacist Recommended
  • 85.9% Labdoor Score
  • Ratings: 4.8 out of 5 – more than 20,000 global ratings.
Review - I work the midnight shift and I’m living a vampire lifestyle. The only sunlight I get is on my days off or driving home in the morning. This vitamin has definitely offset my deficiency. I noticed more of an energy.

4. Bronson D3 Supplement with Vitamin K2 (MK7)


Buy on Amazon - Amazon Best Sellers: #6 in Vitamin D Supplements

About this item:
  • Amazon Customer Reviews: 4.8 out of 5 (more than 12,000 ratings)
  • Bronson vitamin D3 supplements are available in different dose forms: 2,000 IU, 5,000 IU and 10,000 IU.
  • Caution and Concern: Bronson organic vitamin D3 supplement 10,000 IU is a high dose vitamin D3 supplement.  Do not take this dose unless instructed and monitored by your healthcare professional.

5. Z-Stack Vitamin D3, Quercetin, Zinc and Vitamin C - Best Vitamin D3 for Immune Support

Where to buy Z-StackZ Stack Supplement 

Note: To get 5% OFF, use this coupon code: DRFRANCIS

In an effort to make it easier for his patients, Dr Zelenko has developed an oral supplement that contains four key ingredients including quercetin (a zinc ionophore) in combination with zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D3. It’s referred to as 'Z-Stack Supplement'. 

Each capsule contains 250 mg of quercetin, 15 mg of zinc, 2,500 IU of vitamin D3 and 400 mg of vitamin C. Cost per capsule: $0.83.

Z-Stack Vitamin cocktail provides key ingredients needed in order to help your body fight off this deadly invader. The Z-Stack Vitamins are Kosher certified, GMP certified and made in the USA.

Vitamin D is essential to a healthy immune system as it initiates the adaptive immune response. Clinical trial data shows that Vitamin D supplementation is safe and protects against acute respiratory tract infection mortality whereas low levels of vitamin D are associated with higher risk for infection and mortality (bmj.com). 

Quercetin is a zinc ionophore. Meaning it transports zinc into the cells. It is known that zinc will slow down the replication of coronavirus through inhibition of enzyme RNA dependent RNA polymerase (PubMed 2010). The COVID-19 virus is a single stranded RNA (RiboNucleicAcid) virus and requires the RNA polymerase to replicate. 

Vitamin C and Quercetin co-administration exerts a synergistic antiviral action due to overlapping antiviral and immunomodulatory properties and the capacity of ascorbate to recycle quercetin, increasing its efficacy.

Customer Review on ZStackLife:
My father and I have been taking Z Stack for 4 months. My wife has not. She came down with C-19. I still slept in the same bed with her and neither my father nor I got sick. She started the protocol and was fine in a few days. I'm sold on this product. - Feb 4, 2022

Related Evidence:
  • What is the Zelenko protocol? The Zelenko COVID-19 Protocol was developed by Dr Vladimir Zelenko. A retrospective study analyzing Dr Zelenko's patient data was accepted for publication in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents after a rigorous peer review process. The study finds that early intervention and treatment of high-risk patients with COVID-19 resulted in significantly fewer hospitalizations and deaths. The treatment consisting of zinc, low-dose hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), and azithromycin, is also referred to as "The Zelenko Protocol." Dr Zelenko has since updated his protocols to incorporate new evidence.

6. Vitamin D by Nature’s Bounty for Immune Support


Price: $17.10 > Check Price on Amazon - #16 in Vitamin D Supplements of Amazon Best Sellers.

Nature's Bounty uses manufacturing facilities that have been audited by USP (United States Pharmacopeia) and overall seem to be a comparable alternative to the budget choice above, Nature Made. If you're buying larger quantities, Nature's Bounty may even end up being more cost-effective.

About this item:
  • More than 14,000 customer reviews and a 4.8 out of 5 overall rating on Amazon. 
  • Immune support: 350-count, 2,000 IU Vitamin D3 Softgels for immune health. Vitamin D by Nature’s Bounty may assist the immune system by helping to regulate T and B-lymphocytes. Vitamin D3 is a more potent form of Vitamin D.
  • Strong, healthy bones: In addition to immune support, getting a sufficient amount of Vitamin D is critical to building and maintaining strong bones in adults. It is essential for calcium absorption to help support healthy bones. Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3 Softgels supplement the Vitamin D your body needs for overall health.
  • Year-round support: Vitamin D3 supplements by Nature’s Bounty contain the same form of Vitamin D that is naturally formed in the body through exposure to sunshine. Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3 helps replicate the benefits of natural sunshine all year long.
  • Purity is our priority: Nature’s Bounty is committed to safety and purity in all our supplements. Our rapid release Vitamin D3 Softgels are non-GMO, gluten- and sugar-free, and contain no artificial colors, or sweeteners.
  • From the trusted wellness experts: Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D supplements are a product of 50 years of dedication to quality, consistency and scientific research to make vitamins and nutritional supplements of unrivaled excellence.
Vitamin D by Nature's Bounty also come in various other doses:

7. Bronson Vitamin D3 2,000 IU - Best Organic Vitamin D3 Supplement


  • Amazon Customer Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 (more than 2,000 ratings)
  • Bronson vitamin D3 supplements are available in different doses: 2,000 IU, 5,000 IU and 10,000 IU. We recommend taking the lower dose (2,000 IU) for long term maintenance unless your doctor recommends otherwise.
  • Caution and Concern: Bronson organic vitamin D3 supplement 10,000 IU is a high dose vitamin D3 supplement.  Do not take this dose unless instructed and monitored by your healthcare professional.

8. Life Extension vitamin D3, vitamin K1 and K2 and sea-iodine


  • Amazon Customer Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 (more than 3,000 ratings)
  • Supports a healthy immune response—Are you getting enough vitamin D3? We’ve combined several nutrients diets often lack, like vitamin D, which helps maintain a balanced immune system along with other benefits, from bone health to cognitive function
  • Helps maintain strong bones—Vitamin D is necessary for bone health because, along with vitamin K, it gets calcium into your bones. Not only that, but we include multiple types of vitamin K in this formula: vitamin K1 as well as two types of vitamin K2.
  • Supports thyroid health—There’s one more nutrient some people may lack: iodine. Common in table salt (and missing from many healthy diets), iodine is used to make thyroid hormones. Your thyroid helps regulate your body’s metabolism.

9. d.velop Vitamin D Supplements 2400 IU, 20 mcg – High Potency Vitamin D3

SHOP NOW ON AMAZON

  • Calcifediol, the form of vitamin D in d.velop, doesn’t need to be processed by the liver, it can be absorbed right into the bloodstream and throughout your body. That's why calcifediol is 3x more effective for raising vitamin D levels when compared to regular vitamin D on an equal microgram (mcg) basis.
  • Price: USD 18 (0.30 / count) | Buy on Amazon
There is only one form of vitamin D that will have an acute impact and that is calcifediol (vitamin D3 analog).

10. Now Foods Vitamin D3 & K2 (120 Veg Caps)

 
Buy on Amazon

NOW uses Underwriters Laboratory-certified facilities, offers a good price point, and has thousands of 5-star reviews on Amazon. The brand is GMP-certified and uses the UL facility for third-party testing.

More than 6,000 customer reviews and a 4.8 out of 5 overall rating on Amazon. As compared to the Sports Research Vitamin K2 and D3, the dose for vitamin D3 and K2 is lower.

About this item:
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28 in Vitamin D Supplements.
  • Amazon's Choice for D3 K2.
  • Also has 3 mg of vitamin C per veg capsule
  • Supports Bone Health Plus Cardiovascular Support
  • Non-GMO
  • Dose Strength - 1,000 IU of D3 and 45 mcg of K2 per veg capsule
  • Dose is suitable to be taken as maintenance or long term.
  • Capsules might be a bit large (1.9 cm) for some users.
Review - Ordering second bottle now! Started take 2000mg along with magnesium. Hair loss stopped. No more mood Swings and no longer tired.

Note: Most of the Top Vitamin D supplements as listed on the Amazon Best Sellers have recommended dosages that exceed the maximum recommended dose (In USA and UK) of Vitamin D of 4,000 IU. Most of the brands also come in different doses. Do check the label before you purchase.


11. One A Day Women’s Multivitamin (Best Vitamin D for Women)


Buy on Amazon

One a day women's multivitamin is a complete multivitamin specially designed for the leading concerns of women like bone health.

About this item:
  • Contains key nutrients like vitamins A, B6, C, D, E, and K, riboflavin, thiamin, zinc and niacin
  • Formulated to support: Bone health, immune health, skin health, heart health, and physical energy by helping convert food to fuel.
  • Adult women should take one tablet daily with food
  • Free of gluten, wheat, dairy, artificial flavors, and artificial sweeteners
  • Soy free
  • 200 counts
  • Ratings: 4.8 out of 5 - more than 13,000 global ratings
Review
You need to take them with a meal, real food. Not a light breakfast or a snack. Maybe other vitamins you can get away with that, but these are packed with almost everything you need and more. It requires more than light food. When I first took them in the morning I was sick to my stomach. I've since taken them in the afternoon with lunch usually. I've never had any issues and these vitamins really do make me feel good/healthy

12. Kirkland Signature Maximum Strength Vitamin D3 2000 I.U.


#1 Brand for Vitamin D based on ConsumerLab.com 2022 survey.

Amazon Reviews: 4.8 out of 5 - more than 5,000 global ratings.

Best Vitamin D Foods?

Here is the vitamin D3 content of a few of the best food sources (nih.gov):
  • Salmon, cooked, 3 ounces (85 grams) 447 IU / 11 mcg (75% of RDI)
  • Tuna, canned in water, 3 ounces (85 grams) 154 IU / 4 mcg (26% of RDI)
  • Beef liver, cooked, 3 ounces (85 grams) 42 IU / 1 mcg (7% of RDI)
  • 1 large whole egg (D is found in yolk) 41 IU / 1 mcg (7% of RDI)
  • 1 sardine, canned in oil, drained 23 IU / 0.6 mcg (4% of RDI)
Although fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, swordfish, trout, tuna, and sardines are decent sources, you would have to eat them almost every day to get enough.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Composition Database, one 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of farmed Atlantic salmon contains 526 IU of vitamin D, or 66% of the DV (Source).

If you don’t like fish, taking cod liver oil is another way to get nutrients that are hard to get otherwise.

It’s an excellent source of vitamin D. At about 450 IU per teaspoon (4.9 mL), it clocks in at a massive 56% of the DV. It has been used for many years to treat vitamin D deficiency. It also has a history of being used as part of treating rickets, psoriasis, and tuberculosis (Source, Source).

Cod liver oil is also very high in vitamin A, with 150% of the DV in just a single teaspoon (4.9 mL). Vitamin A can be toxic in high amounts. The safe upper limit (UL) for vitamin A is 3,000 mcg. A single teaspoon (4.9 mL) of cod liver oil contains 1,350 mcg of vitamin A. Make sure that you aren’t exceeding the upper limit with cod liver oil or any other vitamin A supplements (Source, Source).

In addition, cod liver oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s may play a role in heart health and may reduce inflammation in the body. Along with fatty fish, cod liver oil is another source of these fatty acids. If you don’t eat fish, it can be hard to get enough omega-3 in your diet (Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that dairy products and cereals are often fortified with vitamin D (Source).

Some rare mushrooms also harbor vitamin D, and egg yolks contain small amounts. The yolk from one large egg contains 37 IU of vitamin D, or 5% of the DV (Trusted Source).

Best Vitamin D Supplement for Absorption

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it does not dissolve in water and is absorbed best in your bloodstream when paired with high-fat foods.

For this reason, it’s recommended to take vitamin D supplements with a meal to enhance absorption.

According to one study in 17 people, taking vitamin D with the largest meal of the day increased vitamin D blood levels by about 50% after just 2–3 months (NIH).

In another study in 50 older adults, consuming vitamin D alongside a fat-heavy meal increased vitamin D blood levels by 32% after 12 hours compared to a fat-free meal (NIH).

Avocados, nuts, seeds, full-fat dairy products and eggs are nutritious sources of fat that help boost your vitamin D absorption.

Read more: Best Vitamin D Supplement for Absorption

What Does Vitamin D Do For Men?

Vitamin D is essential for muscle development as it is involved in the development of skeletal muscle.

Vitamin D also plays an essential role in men’s sexual function and testosterone levels. Healthy levels of vitamin D may also benefit sexual health by mitigating the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Does Vitamin D Help Lose Belly Fat?

Yes, Vitamin D can help trigger weight loss primarily in the belly. This is because Vitamin D and Calcium may work synergistically to reduce the production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that causes you to store belly fat.

Vitamin D for Acne

Acne is a common and complex skin disorder that can be stressful for many patients due to its chronicity. Although acne is caused by a number of factors, but chronic inflammation is an important mechanism.

According to a study, vitamin D has an immune regulatory function in sebocytes, implying that vitamin D may have anti-inflammatory properties in acne patients.

Vitamin D for Skin Health

Apart from its role in maintaining bone health, vitamin D also has a role in maintaining skin health. 

Vitamin D for Dry or Itchy Skin
Severe dryness of the skin or Itchy skin can be an indicator of Vitamin D deficiency. Getting enough Vitamin D can improve symptoms of skin disorders that cause dry, itchy skin.

Vitamin D and Psoriasis
Nutritionists are particularly interested in vitamin D supplementation for these two reasons. First, oral vitamin D supplementation is an important supplementary therapeutic choice for psoriatic patients. Second, vitamin D supplementation may be crucial in preventing psoriasis-related comorbidity, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome.

Vitamin D and Vitiligo
According to one study, high-dose vitamin D therapy may be both safe and beneficial in the treatment of vitiligo. Sixteen vitiligo patients with low vitamin D status were given 35,000 IU per day for six months, along with a dairy and calcium-rich food limitation and minimum hydration of 2.5 L per day. And the outcome, fourteen of them had re-pigmentation ranging from 25 to 75%. It’s still uncertain if high-dose supplementation provides any benefits for long-term patients with vitiligo.

Vitamin D and Atopic Dermatitis
Vitamin D may play a role in improving the symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis. The findings of this study imply that vitamin D supplementation may help reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis and can be considered as safe and manageable treatment option. However, this conclusion still needs larger-scale studies over a longer duration of treatment.

Vitamin D for cancer prevention

Vitamin D can help the immune, muscle, and nervous systems function properly. 

A systematic review (Kuznia 2023) of 14 RCTs (randomized controlled trials), concluded that vitamin D3 did not reduce cancer mortality in the main meta-analysis of all RCTs because the observed risk reduction by 6 % was not statistically significant. However, a subgroup analysis revealed that vitamin D3 administered daily, in contrast to bolus supplementation, reduced cancer mortality by 12 %.

According to BreastCancer.orgresearch suggestsTrusted Source that certain cancers such as breast cancer, can have a higher risk of occurring when the body has low levels of vitamin D. 

Studies also show a link between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer (Sizar, 2020).

In 2020, a study led by experts at Harvard University, published in the JAMA Network Open medical journal (2020), found people taking the daily pills were 17 percent less likely to develop advanced cancer.

And those who were of a healthy weight were even more likely to benefit, with a risk reduction of 38 percent.

In 2016, a landmark study published in PLOS ONE found that women over 55 with blood concentrations of vitamin D higher than 40 ng/ml, had a 67% lower risk of cancer compared women with levels lower than 20 ng/ml.

Related: Vitamin D and Cancer: Vitamin D Reduces Cancer Deaths

Vitamin D Deficiency and Sleep Apnea

In the interview with Dr. Stasha Gominak below, a neurologist and sleep coach, she explains the curious synergy between vitamin D deficiency, microbiome health and poor sleep. Gominak’s research suggests vitamin D modulates sleep and metabolism, and lack of vitamin D causes impairment in your brain stem’s ability to produce normal sleep.

 

She’s treated more than 7,000 patients with her innovative “sleep repair” approach and has published scientific papers on her theories. Many of her patients use fitness trackers that track sleep, such as Fitbit or the Oura ring, both of which can measure slow-wave deep sleep, one of the sleep phases during which your body is paralyzed.

She explains that the only time we are paralyzed is during restorative deep sleep, slow-wave sleep or REM sleep. “As far as I can tell, the movement measurements used in most of those tracking devices are pretty accurate,” she says.

At the very least, using a wearable fitness tracker at night may help you gain more insight into your sleep patterns, so you can make adjustments, if needed, to optimize your nightly rest. 

Study finds taking higher-than-recommended doses of vitamin D reduce risk of atrial fibrillation

FIND (FINnish Vitamin D Trial) is the first randomized controlled trial to observe that vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of atrial fibrillation in generally healthy men and women. Previous research is limited to only two randomized trials, which did not observe an effect when using doses of 10 micrograms (400 IU) or 50 micrograms (2000 IU) per day. Further confirmation of the present results from the FIND study is therefore needed before doses of vitamin D that significantly exceed current recommendations can be recommended for preventing atrial fibrillation.

The study was published in the American Heart Journal (2023).

Vitamin D Needs Are Underestimated by a Factor of 10

Please remember that sun exposure is the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D status. Not only does sun exposure on enough of your skin increase vitamin D, but it also structures the water in your cells, metabolizes vitamin A so it can improve your immune function, increases nitric oxide, and most importantly will increase the vitally important antioxidant. melatonin, in your mitochondria to reduce oxidative stress and preserve your cellular energy production systems.

It is imperative that you do whatever it takes to work up to one hour of sun exposure every day. If you don't live in an area where this is possible, I strongly encourage you to use this as an excuse to move. Yes, if you value your health, it is that important. Florida is a great option for many as not only is it the sunshine state but it is the state most committed to resisting tyranny.

If you do choose to supplement with vitamin D, understand it is a far inferior option. You will also need to use the correct dose. Many studies consider a "high dose" — 2,000 International Units (IUs) a day, which is not a high dose at all. In fact, it's completely inadequate for most people. Research has found a sixfold variability in dosage response (R), meaning one person taking 5,000 IUs of vitamin D per day may achieve a level of just 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L) while another is able to reach a level of 120 ng/mL (300 nmol/L) taking the same amount.

This is why it's so important to get your vitamin D level tested at regular intervals. You simply cannot go by dosage. In reality, you should take whatever dosage required to get the vitamin D level in your blood into a healthy range.

According to a study in Anticancer Research (R), it would require 9,600 IUs of vitamin D per day to get a majority (97.5%) of the population to reach 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L), which research suggests is the very low end of sufficiency (R). That's a far cry from the 600 IUs recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

What's more, science has shown 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L), which is typically considered the cutoff for sufficiency, is still grossly inadequate and dangerous to health. For optimal disease protection, you need a vitamin D blood level between 60 to 80 ng/mL19 (150 to 200 nmol/L).

Once you get above 60 ng/mL, the risk for cancer and other chronic illness declines dramatically — in the case of breast cancer by more than 80% (R). The VITAL study and others like it simply did not give participants high-enough doses to get them into a protective range.

One reason why the public has been misled on the issue of dosage stems from a simple mathematical error that has never been corrected. As pointed out in a 2014 paper, the IOM actually underestimates the need by a factor of 10 due to a simple mathematical error. If this error in calculation were to be corrected, the official IOM recommendation would actually be 6,000 IUs a day, not 600 IUs.

You can use this simple tool from GrassrootsHealth to calculate the estimated additional vitamin D intake needed to reach your targeted vitamin D serum level.

According to data published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 75% of American adults and teens are deficient in vitamin D, based on a sufficiency level of 30 ng/mL. If the sufficiency cutoff were to be moved to 40 or 60 ng/mL, deficiency rates in the U.S. would likely be in the high 90% bracket.

Even with a sufficiency level of 30 ng/mL, 97% of African-Americans and 90% of Mexican-Americans are deficient in this crucial nutrient, which places them at increased risk of chronic disease. 

Update: 2024 Study Suggests Tripling Recommended Amount of Vitamin D

How Much Vitamin D Can You Make and When?

Our skin pigmentations are linked to ancestral latitudinal proximities that optimized our ancestors' skin for sun exposure. The further from the equator our ancestors lived, the lighter their skin, allowing them to biologically maximize the limited availability of the sun, and UV light specifically.

Remember: Your body produces vitamin D through exposure to UVB light. For those living in northern latitudes, this may only be an option for a few short months each year. As a general rule, you have to live below 22 degrees' latitude if you want to produce any vitamin D at all during the winter. 

Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin K2

When supplementing, also remember to take synergistic effects with other nutrients into account. If you take high-dose vitamin D, you may also need to increase your intake of:
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin K2
  • Calcium
These four nutrients — vitamins D and K2, calcium and magnesium — all work in tandem, and rely on sufficient amounts of each to work optimally. Lack of balance between these four nutrients is why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and why some experience symptoms of vitamin D toxicity. Here’s a summary of some of the most important correlations between these nutrients:
  • Excessive vitamin D in combination with lack of vitamin K2 may cause over-absorption of calcium, which in turn may result in calcium deposits in your heart and kidneys. Part of the explanation for these adverse side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place — in your teeth and bones and out of soft tissues and arteries.
  • While the optimal ratios between vitamin D and vitamin K2 have yet to be established, taking somewhere between 100 to 200 micrograms (mcg) of K2 is beneficial. Telltale signs of vitamin K2 insufficiency include osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes. You’re also more likely to be deficient if you rarely eat vitamin K2-rich foods.
  • Vascular calcification is also a side effect of low magnesium, so when taking vitamin D3, you need both vitamin K2 and magnesium to make sure everything is working properly.
  • Maintaining an appropriate calcium-to-magnesium ratio is also important, as magnesium helps keep calcium in your cells so they can function better. Based on your personal health needs an ideal ratio of calcium-to-magnesium may vary from 1-to-1 to an optimal 1-to-2. (R)
  • Magnesium and vitamin K2 also complement each other, as magnesium helps lower blood pressure, which is an important component of heart disease.


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