Do I need to have my vitamin D level tested?

Do I need to have my vitamin D level tested?
Jul 11, 2017

 

New information about the benefits of vitamin D continues to be discovered. Usually, these reports discuss the new findings from a study and they also share the staggering fact that more than one-third of US adults may be deficient in vitamin D. [1]

So how do you know if you too are deficient in vitamin D and does this mean that everyone needs to have their vitamin D blood level checked? 

Before you run to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, you should know that routine screening is not recommended for the majority of people. 

The Endocrine Society recommends against screening everyone for vitamin D deficiency. Instead, they recommend screening people who are considered at high risk for a deficiency. People who are considered high risk are those with any of the following: [2]

  • Dark skin

  • Obese

  • Older adults with a history of falls or fractures

  • Limited sun exposure

  • Osteoporosis

  • A disease that would limit your ability to absorb vitamin D, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease

  • Kidney or liver disease

  • Are taking a medication that increases vitamin D deficiency, such as anti-seizure medicines, glucocorticoids, AIDS medications, or cholestyramine

 

If you are at high risk for a vitamin D deficiency, then you should talk with your doctor about having your blood level tested.

If you do have your 25-hydroxyvitamin D level checked, you should know that there is some debate about what a normal vitamin D blood level should be. In general, experts have agreed that a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level above 30 to 40 ng/ml (75 – 100 nmol/L) is reasonable. If your level is below these values, you will likely be instructed to take a vitamin D supplement and then have your level rechecked in 3 to 4 months.

If you don’t fall into the high-risk category, there is no need to have your blood levels checked. However, this doesn’t mean that you should not be taking a vitamin D supplement.

Discover the recommendations for your region and age group here.

 

 

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About the author:

Carrie Noriega | MD

Dr. Carrie Noriega is an experienced physician and writer who is passionate about helping empower people to take charge of their own health. She enjoys taking complex medical information and writing it in an easy to understand manner to help people live healthier, happier lives.

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