Vitamin D’s claim to fame is the role it plays in bone health – its main function is helping our body absorb calcium, which makes our bones stronger. Without enough Vitamin D, our bones absorb little calcium, which can make them susceptible to breaks and fractures, especially throughout the aging process, and can cause soft and misshapen bones in children.
In addition to its role in the health and strength of our bones, high levels of Vitamin D have also been associated with a reduction in the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and the flu. It even helps regulate mood, and is capable of warding off depression.
What’s Special About D3?
Vitamin D is one of the most complex nutrients needed by the human body.
Vitamin D is available in two forms: ergocalciferol, or Vitamin D2, and cholecalciferol, or Vitamin D3. While Vitamin D2 is widely available from vegan-friendly fortified soy milk and cereals, Vitamin D3 is a little harder to come by.
Your body can synthesize Vitamin D3 from the sun, but this usually isn’t enough to count on to get enough Vitamin D3 daily, and you’d still need help from a supplement in the wintertime when it gets darker earlier.
Omnivores can consume Vitamin D3 through various animal foods, but for vegans, the best way to ensure you’re meeting your recommended daily amount of the nutrient is to take a vegan-friendly supplement.
List of Vegan Vitamin D3 Brands
Even adults love gummy vitamins!
The Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Gummies contains 250% of the recommended daily intake of the vitamin, so it’s a good option for daily use.
The supplement is made from organic ingredients and is free from gluten, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives.
Because of their berry flavor and the fact that they’re chewable, this is a perfect option for vegan children. There are 120 one-gummy servings per bottle.
What We Love
With so many gummy vitamins made from gelatin, it’s a treat to be able to have a chewy supplement that’s entirely vegan-friendly. These gummy vitamins are made with plant-based pectin instead of gelatin and have great wild berry flavor beloved by both kids and adults.
To achieve the sweet, candy-like flavor, these supplements do contain sugar, both in the gummy itself and in the sour coating. There are 2g of carbohydrates and 1g of sugar in each gummy.
Certified vegan by the AVA, Country Life’s powerful softgels contain 5,000 UI of Vitamin D3 per serving.
The easy-to-take softgels are made from vegetable glycerin, and are tiny, which makes them good for those who have trouble swallowing large pills – they’re no larger than a baby aspirin.
This supplement uses Vitashine, a plant-based Vitamin D3 derived from lichen. Many reviewers note a discernable change in energy, mood, and mental clarity after taking these supplements.
What We Love
With over a thousand times the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D, these supplements are a good choice for those with extremely low levels of the vitamin that need to quickly and effectively raise the amount they’re ingesting. Additionally, the capsules are very small, which means they’re easy to take, and not bloated up with unnecessary fillers.
These softgels contain carrageenan, an ingredient derived from seaweed that some research shows promotes inflammation in the stomach and digestive tract.
Registered with the UK Vegan Society, Doctor’s Best vegan Vitamin D3 supplements contain 2,500 UI of Vitamin D3 per veggie capsule.
The company uses modified cellulose to create a vegetarian-friendly capsule for vegan diets and easy consumption.
Additionally, these supplements are the most affordable of the bunch, so it’s a good option for those on tight budgets who still want to get all the necessary nutrients from a vegan diet.
It is free of carrageenan and made entirely from plant-based ingredients.
What We Love
Aside from being extremely affordable, these capsules are also a good amount of Vitamin D3 for those who need to raise their amount of D3 without being over the top. Even reviewers with diseases like Multiple Sclerosis endorse this vitamin, noting how it’s improved everything from MS exacerbations to everyday fatigue.
Those who prefer to eat organic and non-GMO will want to avoid this supplement – while it is extremely affordable, the tradeoff is that it contains ingredients that are not organic and are genetically modified. Also, these capsules contain gluten, so they are not suitable for those with celiac disease.
Even strict vegans and vegetarians can take these Vitamin D3 capsules with confidence, as MRM’s is the only vegetarian and vegan society certified Vitamin D3 supplement on the market.
This supplement contains over 1,000% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D3 and is free of sugar, wheat, eggs, dairy, gluten, peanuts, and other food allergens.
Each bottle comes with 60 capsules containing 5,000 UI of Vitamin D3 each. The capsules are GMO-free and non-GMO project registered.
What We Love
Reviewers find this supplement to be easy to swallow, due to the small size of each tablet, and easy on the stomach, with no trace of queasiness or nausea despite the high amount of the vitamin. It’s also extremely effective – many people who suffered from low levels of the vitamin have had to cut back over time because their levels of D3 are now too high.
The supplements are packaged in a glass jar, which is environmentally friendly, but can be problematic if you have small children in your home who might drop the container.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?
The recommended dietary allowance for men and women under the age of 70 is 600 International Units every day. For adults over the age of 70, consumption should increase to 800 IU daily, to compensate for the lowered absorbability of calcium and D3 as we age.
However, when it comes to supplements, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. The tolerable upper intake levels of vitamin D are set at 4,000 IUs for everyone over age 9 – this means that over this amount, you can start to experience unpleasant health side effects, as the increase in blood calcium levels from an excess of Vitamin D can result in kidney stones and damage, confusion, disorientation, and nausea.
Your doctor can conduct a simple blood test to see how much Vitamin D3 you should be supplementing with.
Considerations in Supplementation
Generally speaking, according to most scientific research, it doesn’t matter if you take your Vitamin D supplement with food or on an empty stomach – Vitamin D is passively absorbed in the lower intestine.
Interestingly, one study found that absorption decreased by 30% in rats who consumed very high-fat diets.
When it comes to how to take your supplement, your mileage may vary. If you find taking your supplement on an empty stomach makes you feel nauseous, try taking it with some food and see if that helps.
You’ll want to take your vitamin according to what makes you feel best, as the method of ingestion won’t make much of a difference on how much is absorbed.
Vitamin D3 on a Vegan Diet
While some plant-based foods contain small amounts of Vitamin D3, adding a vegan-friendly supplement to your diet is a smart way to make sure you’re getting enough of this vital nutrient to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Vitamin D3 supplements made without the inclusion of any animal products can be hard to find, but there are a few high-quality plant-based supplements out there that are perfect for people who don’t want to support companies that use animal ingredients in their products.
No matter your budget, preferences, or consumption needs, there is a vegan-friendly Vitamin D3 that will work perfectly with your lifestyle, without the need to include any meat, dairy, or egg products.