Your Guide to Vitamin D Supplementation for Vegans Including the Best Products + Vegan Food Sources
Vitamin D deficiency is a huge issue all across the world. And it’s not just vegans, all people struggle with Vitamin D. Research suggests that over 70% of Americans are deficient in the essential vitamin.
Winter is the most obvious time for deficiency, as there is less sun. But, deficiency in Vitamin D seems to continue right through summer also. The symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency won’t cause you too many issues. Most likely headaches and fatigue.
In the long run, vitamin D deficiency can have some more severe issues for both your physical health and mental health. This is tough for vegans as the best sources of Vitamin D just happen to be in animal products.
In this guide, I first explore the best Vitamin D supplements for vegans, and then I will discuss the importance of Vitamin D, vegan food sources, and best practices for supplementing Vitamin D.
- The Best 10 Vegan Vitamin D Supplements You Can Buy
- Do vegans need to supplement Vitamin D?
- Can I Get Vitamin D From My Vegan Diet?
- What is Vitamin D and Why is it Important?
- What Are the Different Forms of Vitamin D?
- Vitamin D Deficiency
- How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?
- Can You Take Too Much Vitamin D3?
The Best 10 Vegan Vitamin D Supplements You Can Buy
There are plenty of options when it comes to Vitamin D supplements. However, many are not vegan-friendly, so it’s important to be careful with your choice. I have drawn on my own experience and research to find you the best vegan Vitamin D supplement your money can buy.
This is the vegan D3 supplement I personally take daily. The Doctor’s Best brand is one of my favorites as they’re high-quality, effective, and reasonably priced.
The D3 supplement is one of their most popular products. You take one each day between meals, and it will ensure you get your RDA of D3 and maintain a healthy regulatory system.
This product is just under $50 on Amazon for a 270 day supply. You won’t find a much better price than that for a high-quality D3 supplement. Each capsule gives you 2,500 IU. This ensures you get adequate levels of D3 without being anywhere near the upper limit.
Sports Research has created a very effective and popular vegan D3 supplement with added coconut oil. Each veggie’s soft gel delivers 5,000 IU of the same biologically active form of Vitamin D that is naturally produced in your body when exposed to sunlight.
Sports Research has used coconut oil to help the D3 absorb in the body. D3 is fat-soluble, so the coconut helps with this process as it’s high in fat. It is non-GMO verified, vegan certified, and Carrageenan free.
The D3 has been sourced from Lichen, which is a vegan-friendly source of D3. You also get a 100% 90-day money-back guarantee to help give you some buying confidence.
You may have noticed that my lists of top supplements always include the Garden of Life brand. This is not because I am affiliated in any way, they just have a great line of vegan products.
This D3 supplement is no exception. This D3 comes in a tasty chewable form in a raspberry-lemon flavor. Each chewable gives you 2000 IU and a boost of D3 from 10 mushrooms.
There are no artificial flavors, colors, and sugar. The D3 is sourced from Lichen, and all ingredients are certified organic and non-GMO. Each pack gives you a one-month supply.
Mary Ruth’s D3 is also chewable gummies, this time in a tasty strawberry flavor. The product is certified non-GMO, 100% Vegan, and sourced from non-GMO Lichen.
Each serving provides 1000 IU, and this product includes a healthy dose of B12 Methylcobalamin (the best form of B12). Each pack gives you a two-month supply, although because of the low IU, you could take two a day if you wanted.
Mary Ruth’s are also made in a GMP-certified factory that guarantees high quality and testing quality. The gummies use cane sugar and are soy-free and gluten-free.
Sports Research makes the list again with this top K2 + D3 supplement. If you were to buy a product on customer reviews alone, there is no competition. This supplement has over 6,500 customer reviews on Amazon with an average of 5 stars. You can’t argue with that.
Why is it so popular? Well, K2 is a difficult nutrient for vegans, and so is D3. Combining them makes perfect sense, and they have included coconut oil to help both nutrients absorb better in the body.
Each veggies softgel delivers 5000 IU of D3 and 100mcg of K2 MK-7, which helps support bone health and your immune system. It’s a formidable duo that can have a dramatic impact on your health.
The D3 is sourced from Lichen and the K2 chickpeas. All of this is encapsulated in a non-GMO Tapioca soft gel capsule. Each bottle provides a two-month supply that is 100% vegan-certified.
Naturelo offers a top-quality D3 supplement that uses wild-harvested Lichen. They use a cholecalciferol active form of D3 for enhanced bioavailability. It comes in capsule form, rather than a tablet, for even better absorption.
Naturelo D3 is made in the USA and has been third-party tested for purity. As the name suggests, there are no nasty synthetic ingredients. Each capsule is non-GMO, gluten-free, and does not contain additives, preservatives, or and coloring.
It’s also reasonably priced. For 180 day supply, it costs just over $20, making it one of the best-priced D3 supplements on this list.
Deva always makes the list of my top products because I use them personally, and I am always satisfied. They’re also reasonably priced!
Each tablet gives you 1000 IU of plant-derived D3. It is a vegan-certified product by the Vegan Society themselves, and as with most Deva products has glowing reviews.
Each bottle gives you a three-month supply for a very reasonable price of $12.
Country Life gives you a two-month supply of soft gels, and each provides a whopping 5000 IU of plant-derived Vitamin D3. All Country Life products are manufactured in a GMP-certified factory and tested for purity.
I like Country Life a lot because they have a strong commitment to their customers, quality, and the environment. All their ingredients are certified authentic, the formula for each product is consistent, and they’re committed to accurate labeling.
Each soft gel is wheat-free, gluten-free, and contains no artificial ingredients such as colorings or preservatives.
Igennus gives you a full year’s supply of D3 tablets for a very reasonable price. Each tablet provides 1000 IU of plant-derived D3 that contains 100% natural pharmaceutical-grade ingredients.
The product is made in UK factories in line with strict quality regulations to ensure the best quality product. Igennus is a UK-based family-owned supplement business that has been making waves in the UK since its inception in 2004.
I like this product simply because you get a full one-year supply. You don’t need to worry about reordering your D3. Even if you take two a day, you only need to order twice a year.
Yes, Garden of Life makes another appearance. This time with a liquid form of D3 suitable for anyone that hates pills, tablets, capsules, or even chewable. Liquids are an easy way to supplement, especially for young children.
This liquid D3 is another top product in the Mykind range from Garden of Life. It is one of the most popular D3 supplements within the vegan community and for a good reason. Each spray delivers 1000 IU of plant-derived D3 and includes Omega-3, 6, 7, and 9!
The omegas are sourced from organic pumpkin seed oil and are an excellent addition considering how difficult it can be to get your omegas as a vegan. The liquid comes in a vanilla flavor, so it’s a tasty and enjoyable experience.
As with most Garden of Life products, this liquid D3 is certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Verified with no synthetic binders or fillers.
Do vegans need to supplement Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that keeps our bones healthy and helps control the amount of calcium in our bodies. Research has shown that Vitamin D helps to keep our muscles secure and healthy too.
It is true that our body naturally creates Vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. However, many experts suggest that with our modern lifestyles of working in offices and driving in cars, we aren’t getting enough.
For those living in countries or regions where there is little sunlight, getting enough Vitamin D can be difficult, especially for vegans. The best food sources of Vitamin D are found in animal foods.
Experts recommend that all of us, vegan or non-vegan, make sure we get enough Vitamin D throughout Autumn and Winter. For vegans, supplementation might be the best way to source adequate amounts of Vitamin D.
Can I Get Vitamin D From My Vegan Diet?
Technically yes, but you may struggle to adequate levels of Vitamin D needed. Here is a list of the most common vegan sources of Vitamin D.
- Fortified soy milk
- Fortified cereals
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified almond milk
- Fortified rice milk
As you can see, fortified foods are a great way to boost your vitamin D intake. However, these sources are not reliable and can be difficult to sustain daily.
Sunshine is one of the most effective ways to get your Vitamin D as a vegan. This can be challenging for those that live in cold or cloudy climates.
If you live in a region with lots of suns year-round, make sure you get out into the sun for at least 10-30 minutes every day of the week. Those with darker skin will need to spend 10-15 minutes more in the sun to get the same vitamin D level.
The bottom line, you can get vitamin D from various vegan foods, but you’re best getting out into the sun, and a supplement will ensure you’re getting precisely what you need.
What is Vitamin D and Why is it Important?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin produced endogenously when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight. The sunlight triggers Vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D is found in very few natural food sources, mostly animal products.
Vitamin D is essential, as research shows it:
- Reduces risk of osteoporosis
- Increases physical strength
- Helps prevent some cancers
- Helps minimize the risk of depression and improves mood
- Reduces risk of Type-1 Diabetes
- Can improve mortality
- Increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body
There are many more scientifically backed benefits of having adequate Vitamin D levels in the body. There is no argument among the science world on the importance of this nutrient and its role in your health.
What Are the Different Forms of Vitamin D?
There are two main forms of Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
Vitamin D2 comes from plants and fortified foods, so as a vegan, it is very easy to attain sufficient D2 through our diets. Vitamin D3 is mainly found in animal foods such as fish, liver, eggs, and butter.
When it comes to your overall Vitamin D status, vitamin D3 is much more effective. That’s why vegans must ensure they’re getting enough Vitamin D3 through their food, the sun, and supplementation.
You will see on my list above, that all the supplements recommended are Vitamin D3 for the reasons discussed above.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread throughout the world. Various research suggests that anything from 40-80% of the American population is Vitamin D deficient.
Black and Hispanic people fare worse due to their darker skin. Research indicates that 82% of Black and Hispanic people living in the US are Vitamin D deficient!
Older adults and those with certain diseases are generally at more risk of vitamin D deficiency. Did you know that one study found that 96% of people who had suffered heart attacks were found to be Vitamin D deficient?
Vitamin D deficiency is a dangerous and silent epidemic. The significant issues of deficiency do not develop until much later in life, including:
- Reduced mineral density
- Increased risk of falls and fractures
- Heart disease
- Type-1 and Type-2 Diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
So, you don’t want to be Vitamin D deficient, that’s for sure! Some research has even suggested that low levels of Vitamin D can reduce your life expectancy.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?
The RDI for Vitamin D is:
- Infants, 0–12 months: 400 IU (10 mcg)
- Children and adults, 1–70 years old: 600 IU (15 mcg)
- Older adults and pregnant or breastfeeding women: 800 IU (20 mcg)
You will notice on the list of best products above that they all contain anything from 1000-5000 IU. It is believed by many experts that the RDI for Vitamin D is too low and that much more is needed to reach the desired levels.
Can You Take Too Much Vitamin D3?
Don’t let people fool you into thinking overdosing on D3 is easy, it’s not. In fact, D3 toxicity is extremely rare. Toxicity can only happen if you take huge amounts consistently over a long period of time.
Common symptoms of D3 toxicity include:
- Poor focus
- Abdominal pain
- High blood pressure
Vegans should seriously consider taking a Vitamin D3 supplement to ensure they’re getting adequate levels of D3 each day. Those that live in colder regions of the world with little sunshine may benefit significantly from a vegan D3 supplement.
The best vegan D3 supplement on the market right now is Doctor's Best Vegan D3. You get an ample supply of high-quality D3 tablets for a very reasonable price. It’s important to acknowledge that many of the severe deficiency issues associated with D3 come much later in your life.
Although you may not feel you need D3 supplementation right now, taking one now may ensure your future health.