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Fueling your body with proper nutrition is important to helping you live a happier, healthier life. For many people, though, it can be hard to get the vitamins and minerals they need to function, like vitamin D. While there are plenty of ways to get vitamin D into your system, supplements may be one of the simplest routes to do so. To help you get started on your search for the best vitamin D supplements, check out our reviews and buyer's guide below!
These D3 supplements from BioSchwartz are the highest-rated ones on our list, back by hundreds of satisfied customers. These easy-to-take softgels can easily become a part of your morning or evening routine; just take them with your breakfast or dinner. Best of all, these supplements are priced at less than $14 for a whole year's supply! That's an easy investment to make!
These NOW D3 softgels are the best-priced options on our list. One bottle won't run you even $5! They sell for Amazon at just $4.62 a bottle! You can take one 1,000 IU vitamin once daily, so one bottle should last you for half a year.
These Solimo D3 supplements are the best bang for your buck, coming in at just 2 cents a softgel. With 365 gels in a bottle, that means you're only paying 2 cents a day to potentially improve your health. You couldn't ask for a better deal than that!
Getting enough vitamins and minerals is necessary for helping our bodies do what they need to do. One of the most important nutrients you need is vitamin D. This nutrient is fat soluble (or dissolves in oils and fats while being stored in the body's fatty tissues) and necessary for strong bones and teeth. Most know vitamin D as the "sun vitamin" because your body can create it when the sun's UV rays are absorbed into the skin. Of course, foods and supplements are other ways to bring this nutrient into your body.
There are several types of vitamin D, but the two used the most by the human body are D2 and D3. Both can help bring the level of vitamin D in the blood up to a healthy level. There are some major differences between the two that makes D3 the most preferred form, though.
Vitamin D2 is generally found in different types of fungus, and there is some suggestion that D2 is more sensitive to humidity and temperature changes. These factors can make D2 less effective over time. So far, there is no consensus indicating that taking a D2 supplement won't work, but you will need to be careful about how it is stored in order to maintain its potency for as long as possible.
Vitamin D3 comes from animals; so, it is the form created naturally in the human body. This fact leads most physicians to believe it is easier for the body to metabolize D3, so it can be stored more efficiently in the fat cells of the body. In fact, studies suggest that D3 is more effective at increasing the level of vitamin D in the blood.
Over-the-counter supplements can come in either form of vitamin D but if you are given a high-dose prescription, it is likely to be in the form of vitamin D3.
Vitamin D helps your body do some pretty important jobs. Its main job is to strengthen bones by promoting the absorption of both calcium and phosphorus. This is necessary to help prevent the breakdown of bones and teeth over time. This isn't the end of what it does, however. Vitamin D has a large part to play in the neuromuscular system, helping keep nerves and muscles healthy and functioning as they should. In fact, it allows the brain to communicate through the nerves. Vitamin D can also play a role in reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system, both necessary functions to keep you healthy.
Optimal vitamin D levels can also reduce or prevent rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Rickets causes children's bones to grow incorrectly, causing deformities. Osteomalacia causes a softening of bones, which causes an adult to become off-balance and fall more often, resulting in more frequent broken bones.
There have been studies indicating that vitamin D can help aid those suffering from osteoporosis. Note, however, that a majority of these studies also included calcium. So, it is hard to say whether the positive results are due to the calcium, vitamin D, or a combination of the two.
So far, most of the studies involving vitamin D are done on non-human animals. This means we can only get a general idea of how this vitamin plays a role in the body. Indications are good that it may help prevent prostate, breast, and colorectal cancers. It may also help with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis. So, all in all, non-human animal studies have repeatedly garnered positive results, but it will take more large-scale human studies to definitely determine what role vitamin D plays in the prevention of these disorders.
There has been some disagreement among professionals about what is the optimal level of vitamin D. Vitamin D is measured as nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) during a blood test. A few doctors have stated that optimal levels should be over 50 ng/mL, but the verdict is out as to whether anything above this number is actually healthier or if it could even be harmful. For the most part, it is accepted that anything between 20 ng/mL and 50 ng/mL is adequate for healthy bones in as much as 95 percent of the population. If the number falls between 12 ng/mL and 19 ng/mL, supplements may help. Any number under 12 ng/mL puts a person at extreme risk for either rickets or osteomalacia, depending on the age of the individual.
There is a suggested recommended daily allowance (RDA) for how much vitamin D you should have to keep your blood levels in a health place. For babies up to a year old, it is suggested that 400 IU, or 10 mcg, is needed. Between the ages of one year and seventy years of age, 600 IU (15mcg) is sufficient. After the age of seventy, 800 IU (20mcg) is the normally recommended allowance as the older we get, the more difficult to get vitamin D in other ways. Some doctors do suggest that pregnant or breastfeeding mothers increase their daily allowance to 800 IU (20mcg) per day; however, this may not be necessary if the woman is in very good health. If you are unsure, you should check with your physician.
What happens when you have a vitamin D deficiency? To start with, there are often only subtle signs of this deficiency until your levels are quite low. Some of the more common signs are bone pain (that many confuse with joint pain), constant fatigue, and muscle pain. These problems will last over a long period of time. Other signs include hair loss, many viral and bacterial infections, mood changes, longer healing time for wounds, and bones that break easily. Now, none of these symptoms alone indicate you are experiencing a vitamin D deficiency. But if you display several symptoms? It might be helpful to have your doctor run a few tests.
By far, dietary inadequacy is the most common cause of a deficiency. This is often the case for people who have IBS and other diseases that hinder fat absorption in the body. This also includes people with liver damage, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and Crohn's disease. Another group prone to problems? Those who have issues with their kidneys, as this could inhibit conversion of vitamin D to a usable form. Other at-risk groups include individuals who are obese or have undergone gastric bypass surgery and the elderly and housebound.
As with all vitamins and minerals, the best ways to get enough vitamin D are natural.
The most obvious way to get adequate vitamin D is through moderate exposure to UV rays. This method can be a little tricky, however. Factors like cloud cover and pollution can make it hard to judge just how many UV rays you are exposed to and subsequently absorb. On the flip side, if you spend too much time in the sun, you risk sunburn, premature aging. and possibly skin cancer. So, what's the solution? It will vary by individual, but most experts recommend moderate exposure to the sun (5-30 minutes) a few times a week.
Another natural way to get more vitamin D is through food, both natural and fortified. Foods that naturally contain vitamin D3 include fatty fish (like salmon, tuna, and mackerel), beef liver, egg yolks, Swiss cheese, and cod liver. It's also quite common for foods to be fortified with lots of necessary nutrients. For example, in the US and Canada, all baby formulas are required to be fortified with vitamin D. It's also common to see fortified milk, cereal, orange juice, yogurts, and butter.
Even with these natural routes to get vitamin D, many people still cannot meet their required daily needs. So, there is another method that many people turn to: vitamin D supplements.
Any visit to the supplement section of the pharmacy will give you a multitude of choices when it comes to vitamin D supplements. How do you decide which is the best supplement for you? Taking into account all the information we have just covered, consider looking for a supplement that:
If a supplement can meet these standards, it is well on its way to being acceptable. You may also want to consider choosing one that contains all-natural ingredients. This could help you avoid any side effects from fillers, preservatives, or colorings. Whatever your choice, be sure to discuss taking it with your doctor beforehand. This way, you can make sure that it will not interfere with any medications you may currently be taking.
Unless you are showing extreme symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency, most doctors will not test for it. More doctors, however, are ordering simple blood tests to screen people who experience chronic pain, weakness, and extreme fatigue. If you are feeling any of these common symptoms on a regular basis or are part of the at-risk population, you may benefit from taking a supplement. As with all supplements, however, it is important to discuss taking them with your doctor beforehand. She may agree to a nonprescription-strength supplement or want to first test you. If your levels are in the dangerously low range, a prescription may be ordered for a short period to help bring your levels back up. For the majority of people, though, regular exposure to the sun, a healthy diet, and a supplement in the optimal range will help them keep their bones healthy and strong.