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Known as the sunshine vitamin, mainly because it is produced by our bodies as a natural response to exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for the health of the immune system, the bones, teeth, the nervous system, lung function and cardiovascular health. It also regulates insulin levels and helps with weight loss if taken along a balanced diet and active lifestyle. It is actually a pro-hormone that is produced after a brief exposure to sunlight even 2 or 3 times per week. But since most people are vitamin D deficient, it is wise to consider supplements in the form of liquid, capsules or soft gels.
The importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D production, which is regulated by our bodies, is hard to maintain on a steady long term basis. Supplementation, therefore, can help you meet your daily recommended intake.
It is crucial for bone health as it regulates calcium and maintains the phosphorus levels in the blood. It also reduces the risk of diabetes type 2 by regulating insulin levels and insulin sensitivity.
It can help pregnant women maintain a healthy pregnancy, reduces the risk of flu, and protects against certain types of cancer.
Recommended daily intake of Vitamin D
You can find two different measurements by which it is being prescribed. One is mcg – micrograms, and the other IU – international units.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D is as follows:
- Babies – from birth to 12months – 400 IU or 10 mcg
- Children and young adults- between 1 and 18 – 600 IU or 15 mcg
- Adults – till the age of 70 – 600 IU or 15 mcg
- Seniors – after the age of 70 – 800 IU or 20 mcg
- Pregnant women (or lactating women) – 600 IU or 15 mcg
The symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency would include a weakened immune system, tiredness and fatigue, hair loss, pain in the muscles, depressed mood, slower wound healing, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and osteoporosis.
Note, however, that some of these symptoms show up after a prolonged period of deficiency. It is often the case that people struggle with depressive moods during the winter season due to low sun exposure, so vitamin D supplementation can help greatly.
Sources of Vitamin D in food
Aside from supplementation, you might want to regulate your diet, and include different types of food that are also sources of vitamin D. These include beef liver, egg yolks, cheese, fatty fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel, dairy products, orange juice or cereals.
Vitamin D vs vitamin D3
Many supplementation products have vitamin D3 written on the front. So what does it mean? How does vitamin D3 differ from vitamin D?
Well, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms – one being vitamin D2 and the other vitamin D3. The first is found in plants and fortified foods, while the latter mostly in animal-sourced foods. Vitamin D3 is produced after sun exposure which consequently means that keeping the levels of vitamin D3 at bay is a much harder thing to maintain. The other type, vitamin D2 is more readily available, since it is produced by plants that have been exposed to sunlight.
Taking Vitamin D supplements
Having in mind that it is fat-soluble, you are better with choosing oil-based supplements, or taking your vitamins after food that contains fat.
We have listed a hand-picked selection of some of the most affordable, yet premium quality vitamin D supplements on the market, reviewing each of them in detail.
The list features products from the likes of Centrum, Puritan’s Pride, Bronson, Citracal, Vita Fusion, Carlson, Nordic, and Garden of life, Nature Made, Now supplements, Drops, Throne and many others. We constantly update the selection, reviewing different products as they catch our eye.
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