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5 Best Vitamin D Supplements for Depression in 2021

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Vitamin D, also known as the "sunshine vitamin", offers many health benefits ranging from keeping bones healthy to fostering cell growth and enhancing immunity. On top of these important functions, recent studies have connected vitamin D levels with depression.

We'll dive in further, but let's start off with our top picks for Vitamin D supplements to help you ward off depression (keep reading to find out why we love these 5!):


  1. Why Not Natural D3-K2

  2. NatureWise D3

  3. Sports Research D3

  4. Nature's Bounty D3

  5. Carlyle D3


According to a 2013 meta-analysis published by Cambridge University Press, people with a low level of vitamin D are at greater risk of depression. An earlier study from 2005 found a more direct link between vitamin D and depression: it identified vitamin D receptors in the same areas of the human brain typically associated with depression.

Vitamin D is critical for healthy brain function. So while vitamin D deficiency can contribute to depression, sufficient vitamin D levels can significantly help in the battle against depression & other mental illnesses.

In this study published in Wiley, it was found that participants with depression experienced a steady improvement in their symptoms after receiving vitamin D supplements.

Our body naturally absorbs vitamin D through sun exposure, but there are a variety of factors that can prevent adequate exposure (latitude, living in a city, and age, for example).

Certain foods and dietary vitamin D supplements are also considered to be rich sources of vitamin D and can help with depression. In this article, you'll find a comprehensive guide on the best vitamin D supplements for depression.


With so many vitamin D supplements available in the market, choosing the best one for you can be overwhelming. To make things easier, here we have compiled the top 5 vitamin D supplements that consumers report have helped with depression. Our list has been curated for you, based on the standards of Quality, Essential features, and Reviews.


With the exception of Why Not Natural (which has double the mcg per serving of the others), all of these supplements have 125 mcg per serving. We kept the pricing simple, and standardized it so that all of them are priced per 125 mcg serving.

$=under $0.05 per serving

$$=$0.06 to $0.10 per serving

$$$=over $0.11 per serving

1. Why Not Natural Vitamin D3 K2 (10000 IU)

● Price: $$$

Supplement type: Capsule

Quality and safety standards: GMP certified

"Why Not Natural Vitamin D3-K2" packs in the power of both vitamin D3 and K2. K2 has its own benefits, but has a synergistic relationship with D3 where it carries it away from arteries and into bones (where it should be!).

With no nasty fillers, this D3 supplement is made with organic ingredients, is easy to absorb, and is third-party verified. It helps strengthen bones, reduce inflammation, increase heart health, enhance the immune system, and reduce depression.

Why Not Natural Vitamin D3-K2 is entirely vegetarian and comes in both vegan and non-vegan varieties.

Ingredients: Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, USDA Organic Spirulina, Vegetable Capsule.

How to take it: One capsule of Why Not Natural Vitamin D3-K2 per day.

Why we love it: Made with entirely organic ingredients, Why Not Natural Vitamin D3-K2 is free of rice flour, magnesium stearate, and GMOs. Moreover, it is 100% gluten-free and has no artificial ingredients or stearates, laurates (lauric acid), or dioxides.

This organic D3 supplement is made with spirulina and is entirely free of soy allergens, milk, sugar, egg, corn, fish, or nuts.

Most importantly, this is the only D3 on our list that's vegetarian (it's hard to find an effective formula without gelatin!).

2. NatureWise Vitamin D3 (5000 IU)

Price: $

Supplement type: Softgel

Quality and safety standards: Climate Pledge Friendly.

The NatureWise Vitamin D3 comes in the most active form of D3 and uses certified organic extra virgin olive oil. It is made with real quality & honest care and third-party tested for purity & potency from specialized ISO 17025 third party laboratories.

Ingredients: Vitamin D3 (as Cholecalciferol), extra virgin olive oil, gelatin, glycerine, purified water.

How to take it: 1 NatureWise Vitamin D3 softgel daily for adults or as prescribed by a medical practitioner.

Why we love it: Free of wheat, dairy, gluten, corn, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, or shellfish, NatureWise Vitamin D3 is easy-to-swallow and is perfect for combating depression, as well as promoting muscle strength, healthy bone function, and immunity. Note: they are NOT vegetarian.

3. Sports Research High Potency Vitamin D3 (5000IU)

Price: $

Supplement type: Softgel

Quality and safety standards: IGEN non-GMO tested

SR Vitamin D3, which contains 5000iu (125mcg) of Vitamin D3 (as Cholecalciferol), offers the same biologically active form of vitamin D that our body naturally produces. It comes as an easy-to-swallow liquid softgel capsule enriched with coconut oil. Sports Research High Potency Vitamin D3 is IGEN Non-GMO verified, formulated without soybean oil or safflower oil, and has a 90 day Money Back Guarantee.

Ingredients: Vitamin D3 (as Cholecalciferol from Lanolin), Coconut Oil, kosher gelatin, kosher vegetable glycerin, purified water.

How to take it: As a Dietary Supplement, take 1 Liquid Softgel daily with a meal or as directed by a healthcare professional.

Why we love it: Non-GMO verified and formulated with coconut oil, the SR High Potency Vitamin D3 is entirely gluten-free and has no soy allergens, artificial fillers, or colouring. Not only that, the softgel is small and easy to swallow. Note: they are NOT vegetarian.

4. Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3 (5000IU)

Price: $$

Supplement type: Softgel

Quality and safety standards: Climate Pledge Friendly

Nature's Bounty has 50 years of expertise and innovation to deliver complete immune support, safety, purity, and wellness.

Ingredients: Soybean oil, gelatin, vegetable glycerin, corn oil.

How to take it: Take one softgel per adult daily, preferably with a meal.

Why we love it: Completely free of sugar, added preservatives, and artificial color, Nature's Bounty Vitamin D3 is a great mood booster. It is perfect for combating seasonal depression. Note: they are NOT vegetarian.

5. Carlyle Vitamin D3 (5000 IU)

Price: $

Supplement type: Softgel

Quality and safety standards: cGMP certified

Carlyle's are the least expensive on the list, comes with 500 servings, and is completely free of most allergens like wheat, soy, and dairy.

Ingredients: Vitamin D (as D3 Cholecalciferol). Other Ingredients: Safflower Oil, Gelatin, Vegetable Glycerin.

How to take it: Take one Carlyle Vitamin D3 softgel daily or as suggested by your healthcare practitioner. Not to be taken by pregnant or lactating women, infants, children, adolescents, elderly unless advised otherwise by a licensed medical practitioner.

Why we love it: Carlyle is a manufacturer with over 40 years experience and it seems they know what they're doing: these vitamins are a great deal, don't have any allergens or sweeteners, and contain the bio-active form of vitamin D, D3. Note: they are NOT vegetarian.


Vitamin D has additional benefits for your body. These include, but are not limited to:

Vitamin D helps fight disease:

According to multiple studies, vitamin D plays a vital role in fighting disease & health complications. A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006 concluded that vitamin D helps in reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis.

Another study published in Circulation in 2008 noted the role of vitamin D in decreasing the possibility of developing heart diseases. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vitamin D can significantly reduce the chances of developing the flu.

Vitamin D helps boost weight loss:

In a study published by the Cambridge University Press in 2008, people who took calcium and vitamin D supplements daily lost more weight than those consuming a placebo supplement.

According to the researchers behind this study, vitamin D and the extra calcium had an appetite-suppressing effect that aided in faster weight loss. Vitamin D supplements, thus, are not only known to boost weight loss but are also found to be an essential factor that decreases the risk of heart diseases in overweight people.

A 2009 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms this.

Why is D3 the best form of vitamin D?

Vitamin D comes in two primary forms: vitamin D2 (or Ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (or Cholecalciferol). Even though both are forms of vitamin D, there are significant differences in their sources, chemical structures, and effectiveness.

Vitamin D2 sources:

Vitamin D2 primarily comes from plant sources and fortified foods. Mushrooms that are grown in UV light and dietary supplements are the main sources of vitamin D2.

Vitamin D3 sources:

Unlike D2, vitamin D3 comes from animal-derived foods. For example, oily fish like sardine, mackerel, salmon and herring, fish liver oil, liver, red meat, egg yolk, butter, and dietary supplements are rich in vitamin D3.


1. Vitamin D3 is formed in our skin:

Our skin naturally makes vitamin D3 when exposed to sunshine. Scientifically, the UVB radiation from the sunlight triggers the 7-Dehydrocholesterol compound present in our skin and produces vitamin D3. However, the amount of exposure to direct sunlight necessary to have adequate vitamin D3 differs from place to place.

2.Vitamin D3 is more effective than D2 in improving vitamin D levels:

Even though both vitamin D2 & D3 are equally absorbed into our bloodstream, their effectiveness depends on how the liver metabolizes them. According to a study published in PubMed, a single dose of vitamin D3 is as effective as nearly two doses of D2.

3. Vitamin D2 supplements are often of lower quality than D3:

It has been found that vitamin D2 supplements run a higher risk of degradation under humidity and fluctuating temperature while in storage. Although the level of its impact on human health is not fully known, it is safe to assume that vitamin D2, unlike vitamin D3, can potentially be of lower quality after being stored.


Before you purchase a random vitamin D supplement, consider a few things, for instance: whether you are comfortable with the type of the supplement or if the product is reliable & safe to consume. The following guide will help you choose the best vitamin D supplement – not only the one of the highest quality, but also the one you can stick to taking!

Type of supplement:

If you are a person who doesn't like taking capsules, then considering the type of vitamin D supplement you choose is critical. Apart from capsules, vitamin D supplements are often available as gummies or chewable.

Considering the kind of supplement before buying will help you like them more and will not feel like a chore.

Quality compliance & certifications:

One of the notable differences between supplements and prescription drugs is that the FDA does not regulate supplements like other medications. As a result, doing a little bit of research is highly recommended before buying a vitamin D supplement. To ensure the product's quality compliance and certificates, you can look for the following:

  • Look for CGMP compliance and certification, which ensures that the vitamin D supplement is manufactured under the current manufacturing practices and meets the requirements of the FDA.

  • Check whether the vitamin D supplement brand has the Certificate of Analysis (COA), which essentially proves that the brand delivers what it promises.

  • You can also check for any third party testing commissioned by the supplement company.

Bottom line

Vitamin D has an important role to play in our mental, emotional, and physical wellness. While vitamin D may not be used as a cure for depression, daily intake of a measured amount of vitamin D, especially D3, can considerably help in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms.

Since regular exposure to sunlight is not possible in many places (such as cities) and can be difficult to achieve in the winter, vitamin D supplementation can be a great choice to combat depression and improve mental health.

Aside from regularly taking vitamin D supplements, adding vitamin D rich food to your diet, getting regular sun exposure, and maintaining a healthy weight can considerably help fight depression related to vitamin D deficiency.

DISCLAIMER: if you're concerned about your vitamin D levels and/or are experiencing depression, please speak with your healthcare provider. Ingredient Nerd bases our findings on peer-reviewed research, but our articles are not intended as medical advice and shouldn't be taken as a substitute for professional medical care.

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