A Guide to Vitamin D Supplements

A woman reading the label on a supplement bottle.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body can store for long periods of time. It plays a crucial role in various physiological functions within the body, and comes in two main forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) Of the two main forms, D3 is more effective at raising vitamin D levels in your blood. 1 


Why is Vitamin D Important?

One of the primary functions of vitamin D is to regulate calcium and phosphorus absorption, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It aids in the formation and maintenance of a strong skeletal system. 2  Additionally, vitamin D is known to play a role in modulating the immune system. It helps the body fight off infections and may contribute to reducing the risk of chronic diseases.3 Some studies suggest a potential link between vitamin D levels and mood regulation. 4  Adequate vitamin D levels may have a positive impact on mental well-being. 

Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common, with over 41% of US residents being deficient. 5  While vitamin D2 is found in some food sources, however, vitamin D3 is primarily produced in the skin in response to sunlight. 6 7  Because of this, it can be difficult for many people to get adequate vitamin D, especially in the winter months when sun exposure is limited. Opting to take a supplement can be a convenient way to get sufficient vitamin D. Additionally, people with darker melanated skin may need higher levels of sun exposure to produce sufficient vitamin D levels. 8 9 

Foods That Contain Vitamin D

  • Mushrooms
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Egg yolk
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified milk 10


How to Choose Vitamin D Supplements

It is crucial to choose the right product when shopping for vitamin D or any other supplements. For those new to dietary supplements, selecting a reliable and high-quality product can pose a challenge due to limited FDA regulations on these products. 11  Prioritize brands that undergo third-party testing for added assurance. If you are having trouble determining which brand to choose, consider consulting with a naturopathic doctor who can provide guidance towards trusted products with thorough testing.


What Dosage of Vitamin D Do I Need?

The daily recommended dietary intake (RDI) is as follows:

  • 400 IU (10 mcg) for infants 0 to 12 months old
  • 600 IU (15 mcg) for children and adults 1 to 70 years old
  • 800 IU (20 mcg) for adults over 70 years old
  • 800 IU (20 mcg) for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding 12

It is important to be aware that the RDI for vitamin D is a guideline, not a one-size-fits all rule. A naturopathic doctor will work with you to recommend an appropriate dosage for you based on your diet, lifestyle, and symptoms.

Please note, excess vitamin D can be toxic. Consult with your doctor or ND to test baseline levels and regularly assess your labs when on vitamin D therapy. 


The information presented on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.



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