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How Do I Choose the Best Vitamin D Pills?

Gelatin capsules may be the easiest to swallow.
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  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2014
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Vitamin D improves bone health, increases muscle function and is essential in calcium absorption. Your body's main source of vitamin D is the sun — your skin synthesizes a form of the vitamin after exposure to sunlight. Some people don't make enough vitamin D naturally, which is where vitamin D supplements become necessary. Not all vitamin D pills are created equally; multiple forms of the vitamin are available in various preparations. The best vitamin D pill is the one that meets your dietary needs.

Vitamin D capsules are available in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is the same as the form derived from natural sources of vitamin D. The supplement is typically made from lanolin, a greasy substance found in sheep's wool, or from fish oil. Vegetarians or those with strict religious or ethical dietary regulations or allergies, may wish to avoid this type of vitamin D pills.

Vitamin D2 is derived from plants and fungi. Non-animal sources of vitamin D are processed with ultraviolet light to turn cholesterol derivatives into the vitamin. Vitamin D2 supplements provide less of the available vitamin to the body – you may need to take more vitamin D2 to get the same effect as a vitamin D3 pill.

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Vitamin D pills are available as capsules, tablets, softgels and liquids. Tablets are powdered, condensed pills. Capsules are moderately soft formulations of powdered vitamin D encased in a gelatinous coating. Vitamin D softgels are less firm than capsules but still utilize a gelatinous coating. Vitamin D liquid is also available.

Not every individual needs a vitamin D supplement. It is possible to get too much vitamin D. Since vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, too much vitamin D can lead to a build up of calcium deposits within the body or cause kidney problems or decreased muscle tone. If you already get an adequate amount of daily vitamin D, consider a decreased dose formulation.

Individuals with dietary restrictions may wish to avoid capsules and softgels, or seek a vegetarian alternative that doesn't utilize real gelatin, but rather a cellulose coating. Not every vitamin D pill is right for every person. If you have questions or concerns about the right form and formulation of vitamin D pills for you, consult your doctor or a pharmacist. You may need to undergo testing to determine how deficient you are in vitamin D. Nutritionists are also able to help determine the right vitamin D pills for you.

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wavy58
Post 4

I am allergic to certain types of fish, so I can't take anything made from fish oil. I have to take vitamin D2 instead of D3, and the dosage is higher.

I really don't like taking supplements when I can get what I need from nature, but I don't see the sun at all during the winter months, and I'm afraid that my diet just doesn't include enough vitamin D.

I hate milk, and I rarely eat eggs. So, I just take the capsule form of vitamin D2. When spring arrives, I just go out in the sun and quit taking the supplements.

Oceana
Post 3

@Perdido – I have good news for you. Liquid vitamin D has no flavor, unless it is added by a pharmaceutical company to make the product appeal to children. If this were the case, the label would clearly state its flavor.

I prefer liquid vitamin D, because I can add it to my water and drink it. Also, I hate swallowing pills. I have often gotten them caught in the back of my throat and had that bitter taste all in my mouth.

I just use a certain number of drops each day. I can even add it to my coffee in the morning without altering its flavor. So, I keep it near the coffeepot, and it's easy to remember to take it.

seag47
Post 2

@Perdido – You should definitely avoid tablets if you don't want a bad taste on your tongue. Tablets have a horribly bitter taste that can leak through a coating, if there even is one, in a matter of seconds. In the time it takes you to grab a glass of water, the flavor could come through and make you gag.

It sounds like either softgels or capsules would be better for you. Really, I can't tell the difference between these, so either should be fine.

I am taking the softgel form of vitamin D now. Since the store was out of capsules, I grabbed these, and I'm happy with them.

Perdido
Post 1

I have never taken vitamin supplements before, but my doctor told me I need to be taking vitamin D. I am not sure which form of pill to use.

Does anyone have an opinion on which is the best? I really can't see how a capsule would be any different from a softgel, and I have no idea if a tablet would have any benefits over either of them.

I do want to avoid taking liquid vitamin D, though. I'm not sure how it will taste, and I hate putting unpleasant things on my tongue. At least with a pill, I know I won't have to taste anything.

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