Best Vegan Vitamin D3 Supplement

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best vegan vitamin d supplementMany vegans have insufficient vitamin D levels according to studies. This is due to the modern lifestyle, working in the office, and long winters. In the dead of winter, our vitamin D is at its lowest, and the easiest way to top up our levels is to supplement. And now we have lichen-based, vegan vitamin D3 supplements available, so we don’t have to use the less effective vitamin D2 form.

Why should vegans take vitamin D3?

Vitamin D was making waves across the biggest health websites over 10 years ago when researchers discovered that vitamin D was more important than just simply helping us keep our bones strong.

Vitamin D is a key regulator of hundreds of genes which influences everything from bone metabolism, immune system function, cellular stress response, gene transcription regulation, DNA repair and more. It is thought that vitamin D could control up to 5% of the human genome.

Clearly then, being deficient in this important sunshine vitamin D cannot be good for health or longevity. And according to this study, vegans had the lowest intake of vitamin D and the lowest blood levels in the study.

If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read this whole article, I’ve prepared a list below with 4 high-quality D3 supplements for you to check out. I’ve also put them in the order which I recommend and think are best!

  1. Garden of Life Vegan Vitamin D3  – Contains 2000 IU of D3 and a blend of organic vegetables and mushrooms. My favorite tasty D3 supplement!
  2. Doctor Formulated Vitamin D3 – Contains 1000 IU of D3 from lichens and is good for people with very light skin and summertime. Basic, but good.
  3. Doctor’s Best Vitamin D3 – Contains 2500 IU of D3 from lichens and is great for people with dark skin and need more vitamin D.
  4. Country Life Vitamin D3 –  Contains 5000 IU of D3 from lichens. I recommend this to people who rarely get sun and people who have very dark skin. Good for winter D3 supplementation.

What is the RDA of vitamin D?

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is still fairly conservative and only takes into account preventing the most serious problems associated with inadequate vitamin D levels, such as rickets. It doesn’t give any indication of what is the optimal level for disease prevention.

Daily Allowance of Vitamin D

  • Adult Males – 600 IU
  • Adult Females – 600 IU
  • Adults above 70 – 800 IU

40 IU of vitamin D equals 1 microgram (mcg)

In recent years, many studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals suggesting that the recommended daily allowance should be increased. And in some countries, it is recommended that adults get between 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D per day.

In the summer it might be a lot easier to meet this amount, especially if you have light skin, but in the winter it’s impossible to generate enough vitamin D in your skin to stop your vitamin D levels from dropping to very low levels.

Which are the best vitamin D supplements for vegans to take?

Most vitamin D supplements on the market are non-vegan. The reason is that vitamin D is often sourced from sheep’s wool, and therefore most vegans will not consider this a viable supplement to take.

The good thing about Lanolin is that it contains vitamin D3, which is the best form of vitamin D you can take. There are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) supplements available, but studies have shown that this one is the least effective one to take.

So in that case, we need to find a vitamin D3 source that is vegan.

A little while back after doing some digging, it came to my attention that there is vitamin D3 supplements available which are totally fine for vegans to take: Lichen-based vitamin D3.

What are lichens?

Lichens are basically a plant species that consists of fungus and algae. They are able to survive in very extreme climates and provides a wide variety of nutrients to sustain its growth, including Vitamin D3.

#1 Garden of Life Vitamin D3 for Vegans (Organic and tasty!)

Garden of Life has quickly become one of my favorite companies for vegan products. I first heard of them from Alicia Silverstone, who is also a vegan. Since that time, I’ve been hooked on their products and often recommend them to fellow vegan friends.

This supplement is packed full of nutrients from different plant sources, with a healthy dose of vitamin D3 from Lichen (2000 IU).

And the raspberry-lemon chewable is also a really tasty way to get your D3!

Main Ingredient – lichen (vitamin D3)

Other ingredients – Unlike many other vitamin D supplements, this one contains an organic food blend which contains flax seed, organic carrot, organic broccoli, organic cauliflower, and organic spinach.

Also contains a wide range of mushrooms to help boost immune system health!

Who should take this supplement?

With a dose of 2000 IU, this vitamin D supplement would be suitable for both light and dark skin vegans in either the winter or summer.  And especially if you have an office job and work inside all day.


Garden of Life Vitamin D3 has been certified USDA organic and NON-GMO.

Hands down the best

This is probably the best vitamin D3 supplement I’ve found and I highly recommend you give it a try! It has lots of organic and pure ingredients in there, with a perfect dose of Vitamin D3 to keep you healthy.

See reviews and current price here

#2 Doctor Formulated Vegan Vitamin D3 Supplement – 1000 IU

This vitamin D supplement seems to be fairly popular with vegans and has some good reviews.

The vitamin D supplement contains 1000 IU of cholecalciferol, is 100% vegan, and is a non-genetically modified litchen source of vitamin D3.

The supplement is also gluten and soy free and each bottle contains 60 small vegetarian/vegan capsules.

Each capsule will give you 1000 IU of vitamin D3, which will be enough to prevent vitamin D deficiency, but possibly not enough to reach adequate (higher) levels of vitamin D in the blood.

Who should take this supplement? 

If you work outdoors, get a lot of sunshine, and you have light skin, then this vitamin D supplement would be a great option for you.

If you have darker skin and thus require more sun to increase vitamin D levels, a dose of about 2000 IU would be more sufficient.

Tested for quality

The company also state that their product is manufactured in the USA and is a regulated facility, which is subject to good manufacturing practices (GMP) for which it has been certified. Basically, you know you are paying for a quality vitamin D3 product.

See reviews and current price here

#3 Doctor’s Best Vitamin D3 Vegan Supplement – 2500 IU

Another well-received vegan-friendly vitamin D3 supplement from Doctor’s Best, but this one contains significantly more vitamin D3 than the previous one.

The supplement contains 2500 IU of vitamin D3 sourced from lichen, but also contains small amounts of other ingredients such as maltodextrin, starch, sucrose, silicon dioxide, d-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C).

Who should take this supplement?

This supplement should be suitable for most people and provide adequate vitamin D levels to prevent deficiency and may even lower the risk of certain diseases.

If you easily tan and have an olive or darker skin tone, then this vitamin D supplement would be best for you. However, if it’s summer and you’re getting lots of sunshine, then perhaps go for a lower dose of 1000 IU or take every other day.

Tested for quality

Some of the key features of this product are that it has proven potency, clinically researched, 3rd party tested and has been GMP certified.

So just as with the previous vitamin D supplement, you know that you’re getting a good quality vitamin D supplement made for vegans.

The vitamin D3 supplement is also harvested and registered with the UK vegan society.

See reviews and current price here

#4 Country Life Vegan Vitamin D3 – 5000 IU

If you’re looking for a high dose vitamin D3 supplement, then this is a good one to go for.

The product contains 5000 IU of Vitamin D3 from Vitashine (plant derived D3). Other ingredients include sunflower oil, d alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), non-GMO corn starch, carrageenan, vegetable glycerin, sorbitol, and purified water.

It’s free from Yeast, Wheat, Soy, Salt, Sugar, Preservatives, and Artificial Colorings.

Who should take this supplement?

I recommend this supplement for winter use only and for people with dark skin tones, which makes it harder to produce vitamin D in the skin. Also, a great choice for use in the winter when there isn’t much sunlight.

Tested for quality

The product also has other environmentally friendly attributes and certifications.

Important note: If you choose this product, I would recommend getting blood tests done if taking long term to check levels of vitamin D.

See reviews and current price here

The main benefits of Vitamin D

There are numerous benefits of taking vitamin D. Some of these benefits occur at doses above the minimum daily requirement.

Some of the latest research on vitamin D has included the following:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Asthma
  • Hypertension
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depression and anxiety

The list of disease and conditions which is affected by vitamin D is growing every year as researchers uncover results from long-term trials using vitamin D in disease prevention and disease treatment.

Although vitamin D by itself is not a magic bullet, it is something that everyone ought to pay more attention if you want to achieve optimal health and well-being.

Vegans are especially more prone to development of vitamin D deficiency, but fortunately for those of us who live in places where it’s not sunny throughout the year, we have plant sources of vitamin D to help us along.

And finally, let’s not forget that excess sun causes skin damaage and premature aging of the skin. Therefore, it’s a lot more sense to get vitamin D from a vegan supplement than to expose yourself to the sun constantly.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency can be associated with many symptoms, many of them are not specific enough to pick up on, but if you are experiencing many of these, then it could be worth speaking to your doctor and getting a blood test done.

  • Catching colds and other bugs more frequently
  • Hair loss (not male pattern baldness)
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Depression
  • General aches and pains/muscle pain
  • Fatigue and tiredness

Who is at more risk of deficiency?

If you live in the northern hemisphere then you’re more likely to develop low levels of vitamin D in the winter.

If you work indoors all day and don’t get much sun, then you can be at risk.

If you frequently wear sunscreen that is SPF 30 or above. This can block your ability to synthesize vitamin D by over 95%.

Having darker skin will also mean you require longer time spent in the sun to synthesize vitamin D.

And finally… I highly recommend sensible sun exposure. Although the sun is great, it is also one of the main causes of skin aging. As a vegan, you can protect your skin from the sun, stay young-looking, and still get all the vitamin D you need from vegan vitamin D supplements.

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