Vitamin D, just like Vitamin B12, is one of the most essential supplements one can purchase. Not only because there is little vitamin D present in vegan foods, but because there is evidence showing that 50% of the worldwide population appears to have insufficient vitamin D levels.
Moreover, if you happen to live in a country or state where the climate is not particularly sunny, then the intake of a vitamin D supplement may be necessary to prevent a potential deficiency.
In this article, not only are we going to look at some of the best vegan vitamin D supplements in the market, but we will also look at the importance of vitamin D, as well as some factors to consider before acquiring your vegan vitamin D supplement, including the fact it must not be derived from an animal source.
7 Best Vegan Vitamin D Supplements
Future Kind Vegan Vitamin D
Future Kind is one of my favorite brands.
Because it’s 100% vegan, they’ve created products that are aligned with what the research says about vegans specific nutritional needs.
For this supplement, they’ve included vitamin D3 derived from lichen, a plant compound born from the symbiosis relationship between algae and fungi, which organically occurs in nature.
I’ve taken one serving of 1000 IU per day for 1-2 years, but that didn’t work out for me, particularly because my vitamin D analysis resulted in me having insufficient vitamin D levels. Therefore, I basically took two servings of that same supplement (2000 IU), which fixed the issue.
Future Kind’s vitamin D supplement contains 2500 IU per serving, which means it’s more potent, so you also have a better chance of maintaining healthy vitamin D levels, or increasing low vitamin D levels.
The capsules are made from vegetable cellulose, which is a type of insoluble fiber that is extracted from plants, namely tree barks, in a sustainable and eco-friendly fashion.
While this isn’t the cheapest supplement in the market, we also have to consider that lichen is not the cheapest source. That said, Future Kind lets you save 15% along with free shipping if you subscribe to their auto-delivery service, which means that a bottle of vitamin D3 is delivered to your every 1 or 2 months.
Keep in mind that each bottle comes with 30 servings, so 30 days is usually how long it lasts.
Recommended Read: The 6 Best Vegan Multivitamins On The Market
Ora Organic Vegan Vitamin D
Ora Organic is a highly transparent and reputable supplement brand that emphasizes the notion that clean, organic, and vegan products are the future.
Each serving of Ora Organic’s vitamin D contains 50 mcg (2000 IU) which is more than the minimum daily allowance set by health authorities.
Studies suggest that taking more vitamin D than the minimum set may offer health benefits other than bone health, including improved mental health, particularly in people with depression.
Ora Organic’s tablets are made of organic tapioca maltodextrin, which is obtained by using a water-based enzyme process that leads to a more sustainable final product.
Besides containing vitamin D3 derived from lichen (one that is more effective at increasing vitamin D levels), Ora Organic’s vitamin D also contains organic tapioca starch, a starch extracted from cassava root that is naturally rich in dietary fiber and helps fuel the good bacteria in the gut.
However, this isn’t a particularly cheap supplement considering the benefits, but you can reduce the cost by either buying in bulk or subscribing to receive them on a regular schedule. Buying bulk allows you to save up to 10%, but subscribing will allow you to save 20%.
Recommended Read: The Best Vegan Probiotics for Optimal Gut Health
Mary Ruth’s Organic Vegan Vitamin D
Mary Ruth’s vegan vitamin D3 supplement is a good alternative for those that aren’t fond of swallowing pills or tablets, but would like to munch on sweet gummies.
Their supplement also contains vitamin D3 derived from lichen and is formulated using organic ingredients organic cane sugar, and organic tapioca syrup to confer the product with its sweetness.
One bottle of Mary Ruth’s vitamin D3 comes with 60 servings, which should suffice for two months of daily intake.
Mary Ruth’s vitamin D is naturally flavored with fruits, including orange, strawberry, and lemon; but nothing that can be deemed as excessively sweet. In fact, each gummy contains 1g of sugar.
You can save 10% by applying to their subscription, where you can choose the frequency at which the product is delivered (every 30, 45, 60, or 90 days).
Recommended Read: The Best Vegan Gummy Bears
MyVegan Vegan Vitamin D
This vitamin D supplement by MyVegan is actually one that I’ve been ordering recurrently, mostly because it’s the most affordable option I’ve found available in Europe.
But despite its affordability, I have to say that the quality of the supplement is top-notch, starting with the tiny and soft vegan gel capsules that are a breeze to swallow.
Each capsule contains 25 mcg (1000 IU) and you can choose between a bottle of 60 capsules or 180 capsules.
Even though ordering 60 capsules is more appealing because it’s cheaper, ordering 180 capsules will allow you to drive down the cost per serving, which means you would save more money in the medium & long term.
The supplement itself is certified by the Vegetarian Society (yes, it’s vegan), and although it doesn’t contain organic ingredients, the formula is very clean and doesn’t have any ingredients that would raise a red flag from a cruelty or environmental point of view.
Naturelo Vegan Vitamin D
Naturelo has formulated a vitamin D supplement made from wild-harvested lichen with enhanced bioavailability from the cholecalciferol active form of D3.
This supplement comes with 180 easy to swallow capsules, each one with 62.5 mcg (2500 IU) of vitamin D, which means you don’t have to take them every single day.
With that being said, the supplement is very affordable at $0.11 per serving, a cost that can be reduced if you subscribe to their scheduled delivery service.
Naturelo is a highly reputable brand that is certainly superior to many name brands, and if you check its other products on Amazon, you’ll notice that they have tons of reviews.
This tells me that their products are of good quality and people keep coming back for more.
Real Dose Vegan Vitamin D
Out of all the products in this list, Real Dose Essentials may have the most affordable vegan vitamin D supplement, but only if you subscribe to their service to get a permanent 20% discount.
The Vitamin D3 in their product is sourced from sustainably harvested lichen, one of the most bioavailable forms of vitamin D.
Their veggie capsules are very small and easy to swallow.
Real Dose’s vitamin D supplement is also free from major allergens like milk, egg, fish, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat. It is also free from genetically modified ingredients.
Unlike most brands on this list, Real Dose provides customers in the United States with free shipping, regardless of the order size. It’s certainly a great option for anyone wanting to save moolah.
Mykind Organic Vegan Vitamin D
A more reputable brand than Garden of Life is hard to find, their products are certified organic by the USA, they are free from GMOs, and they oftentimes contain more than just one vitamin.
This particular supplement contains vitamin D3 derived from lichen, but it also contains a blend of omega-rich oils, including organic pumpkin seed oil and organic cranberry seed oil.
The combination of these two oils provides users with omega 3, 6, 7, and 9, which seems to consider the vegan diet, especially for those that fail to meet the ALA requirements.
One serving provides users with 25 mcg (1000 IU) of vitamin D3, and each bottle of this supplement contains approximately 125 sprays.
Garden of Life’s supplements are not the most affordable, but you can significantly reduce their price by subscribing to their recurring delivery service.
What is Vitamin D?
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in a few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced naturally when ultraviolet UV) rays strike our skin, triggering the production of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is important for several reasons.
It promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations which enable normal bone mineralization and prevent hypocalcemic tetany (a condition that leads to the involuntary contraction of muscles, causing you to have spasms and painful cramps).
Without adequate levels of vitamin D, your bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. In other words, vitamin D is important to reduce the risk of bone fracture, as well as health conditions like osteoporosis.
Vitamin D is also important for other bodily functions, such as:
- Reducing inflammation
- Modulation of cell growth
- Regulating immune function
- and regulating glucose metabolism.
If you want to be healthy, having adequate Vitamin D levels is absolutely crucial.
Recommended Read: Best Vegan Calcium Supplements
Vitamin can be divided into two forms.
One of those forms is D2 (or ergocalciferol), which is mostly present in plants/fungus like mushrooms, fortified foods, and dietary supplements.
Since D2 is the cheapest one to produce, it is typically the one you will find in fortified foods.
However, according to evidence, vitamin D2 is not as effective as vitamin D3 at raising vitamin D status because even though they are equally absorbed into the bloodstream, the liver metabolizes them differently.
Vitamin D status is measured by the amount of calcifediol in the bloodstream, and studies show that vitamin D3 is more effective at raising calcifediol levels than vitamin D2.
A cheaper, less effective vitamin D supplement will have vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).
Vitamin D3 is generally found in animal foods, but it’s also the type of vitamin D our organism creates when it is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays.
If you spend time outdoors you probably won’t require a vitamin D supplement, but that is also dependent on the climate in your country. For example, an estimation suggests that Indians only need to spend half an hour of midday twice a week to obtain an adequate amount of vitamin D.
However, this duration of exposure does not apply to countries farther away from the equator. In these countries, you may have to spend more time exposed to sunlight to obtain adequate levels of vitamin D.
With that being said, the reality is that many people get little sun exposure. They either work indoors or live in a country where there’s limited sunlight during the winter. If this is you, then it might be a good idea to consider taking a vitamin D supplement to meet the recommended levels.
Does vegan vitamin D3 exist?
Vegan vitamin D3 exists and one of the most popular sources of D3 is lichen.
Lichen is a unique species that consists of a symbiotic relationship between a “fungus partner” and an “algae partner”. It’s found on mountainsides, rocks, and trees in wide abundance.
It’s a natural source of vitamin D3 with no negative effects on the environment.
Recommended Read: The Best Vegan Multivitamins
Do vegans get enough Vitamin D?
An Epic Oxford study found that vegans had the lowest amount of vitamin D levels of any diet group, but for all groups, the vitamin D levels were lower, on average, when measured during winter and spring compared to summer and autumn.
And although vegans had lower vitamin D levels than meat-eaters, their vitamin D levels would still be considered in the healthy range of 50 to 125 nmol/l according to the Institute of Medicine.
Vitamin D deficiency is something that affects 50% of the world population, where you will certainly find a mixed pool of dietary groups. Indeed, vegans don’t have as many foods available that are naturally rich in vitamin D, but you can still find some fortified foods, and of course, vegan vitamin D supplements.
How much Vitamin D do vegans need?
The recommended vitamin D intake is bound to be the same for vegans and meat-eaters alike.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the values for vitamin D vary age and sex, which is why they have laid out a table with the following recommended dietary allowances (RDA):
|0-12 months*||10 mcg
|1–13 years||15 mcg
|14–18 years||15 mcg
|19–50 years||15 mcg
|51–70 years||15 mcg
|>70 years||20 mcg
Something to keep in mind is that these values may vary from country to country, and different guidelines may also be employed differently for other nutrients. Also, the table above refers to daily intake.
What vegan foods contain Vitamin D?
Many of the vitamin D foods are derived from animals, but with the impending growth of veganism, we are bound to see more vitamin D-fortified foods popping up.
In fact, here are some of the best vegan sources of vitamin D:
- Mushrooms – These are the only edible natural plant source that contains vitamin D2, but they must be exposed to UV light so that they may produce vitamin D.
- Fortified plant milk – One cup of fortified soy milk contains about 2.9 mcg (116 IU) of vitamin D. However, this may vary depending on the brand you purchase, and the same can be said for the amount of calcium.
- Fortified cereals – Many breakfast cereals and brands of oatmeal are fortified with vitamin D, which will definitely vary between brands.
- Fortified orange juice – Not all orange juice is fortified with vitamin D, but those that contain vitamin D typically have about 2.4 mcg (96 IU) of vitamin D per serving.
Incorporating these types of foods in your diet is highly important, but if you live in a country where sun exposure is difficult to get, you must obtain a vegan vitamin D supplement.
What to consider when shopping for Vitamin D
There are certainly a few things that you must consider before purchasing a bottle of vitamin D, including brand reputation, type of vitamin D, number of servings, vitamin D per serving, and price.
Let’s look at these different factors to determine which supplement you should be actually purchasing.
Naturally, the reputation of the brand selling the supplement must be positive. For this to happen, there are a few things that we should look for, regardless of the product:
- There must be proof of positive reviews (which is the equivalent to happy customers).
- The positive reviews must be legitimate, which sometimes isn’t the case.
- The brand must be transparent about the ingredients used, which means it must be third-party tested by a laboratory or company with no affiliation.
Another thing to take into consideration is whether or not the brand has been around for a while.
Brands like Ora Organic have garnered their reputation through the years by winning the hearts of customers that love vegan, ethical, clean, and sustainable supplements. It’s an example of a great brand reputation.
Type of vitamin D
We’ve learned in this article that two types of vitamin D exist: D2 and D3.
While they’re both absorbed equally into the bloodstream, the liver metabolizes them differently, with vitamin D3 being the one that is more effective in increasing vitamin D (or calcifediol) levels.
However, that also indicates that vegan vitamin D3 supplements are more expensive than vegan vitamin D2 supplements, which may be less accessible for some shoppers.
Vitamin D per serving
The quantity of vitamin D per serving is very important.
On one hand, a supplement must contain at least the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) per one serving, or a serving that is higher than the daily value.
Personally, I purchase supplements that do not need to be taken daily but 2-3 times per week.
One serving of Ora Organic’s vitamin D contains 50 mcg (2000 IU), which means you might not have to take it every day since it contains 3x more than the recommended daily amount.
Number of servings and price
The number of servings and price often go hand in hand – a supplement with more servings is generally more expensive, but that isn’t always the case.
If you want to buy an affordable supplement, look at the price per serving.
Naturelo’s vitamin D costs $0.11 per serving, while Ora Organic’s vitamin D costs $0.57 per serving, which makes the latter significantly more expensive.
Out of all the vegan vitamin D3 products we have listed, the formula by Ora Organic is our favorite.
Not only does it provide users with 50 mcg (2000 IU) of vitamin D, which is way more than the daily recommended amount, but we also absolutely love the fact that Ora Organic takes into consideration other aspects of our health and thus choose to use organic ingredients and avoid major allergens.
And yes, it also contains vitamin D3 derived from lichen, which is more effective at increasing vitamin D levels than vitamin D2.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase through these links. See my full disclosure here.