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How To Check Vitamin D Levels

Do I Have Vitamin D Deficiency

How To Test Your Vitamin D Level At Home

The best way of diagnosing a Vitamin D deficiency is with a blood test. You can do this blood test at home use a home vitamin D test kit that you can order online from Superdrug Online Doctor. Its a pin-prick blood test that means you only need to collect a few drops of blood and then send your sample off to our lab. Results should be available in your account, 2-3 days after your sample reaches the lab. A Superdrug doctor will also give advice on your results.

The result will put you in one of three categories:

  • Sufficient. You have a level over 50 nanograms per millilitre of blood. This is considered healthy for most people
  • Insufficient. You have a level of between 30 and 50 ng/mL. You are at risk of developing conditions associated with a low vitamin D
  • Deficient. You have a level below 30 mg/mL. You may start experiencing the symptoms associated with low vitamin D: bone or muscle pain, tiredness, weakness, and mood changes. Additionally, you are at risk of developing conditions associated with low vitamin D

Some people are at a higher risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. You are at higher risk if you:

  • are not exposed to a lot of sunlight, for example if you stay indoors for long periods or cover your skin for religious or other reasons
  • have darker skin as this naturally stops as much sunlight from reaching the skin
  • are aged over 65 as your skin may not produce as much vitamin D when you are exposed to sunlight
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • are under five years old

How To Get The Best Results From A Home Vitamin D Kit

Here are a few tips on how to get the best results from any home blood test kit:8

  • To accurately determine deficiency or low levels of vitamin D you must take the test before you take any vitamin or mineral supplements. Ask your doctor about this if it is prescribed to you.
  • You should also avoid taking biotin supplements for at least 2 days before you test again, check with your doctor if its prescribed to you
  • Follow instructions accurately for your specific blood test kit

How Is Osteomalacia Diagnosed

There are various tests that can be performed to determine if someone has osteomalacia.

  • The most important indicator is low levels of vitamin D, but low levels of calcium or a significant drop in phosphate levels may also indicate osteomalacia.
  • X-rays may be taken to see if there is any evidence of osteomalacia.
  • A bone mineral density scan may be helpful in evaluating the amount of calcium and other minerals present in a patients bone segment. These scans are not required to make the diagnosis of osteomalacia. However, they may give important information about a patients bone health.

Rarely, the doctor may perform a bone biopsy, in which a sample of bone tissue is taken and examined.

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What Abnormal Results Mean

A lower-than-normal level can be due to a vitamin D deficiency, which can result from:

  • Lack of skin exposure to sunlight, darkly pigmented skin, or consistent use of high-SPF sunscreen
  • Lack of enough vitamin D in the diet
  • Liver and kidney diseases
  • Poor food absorption
  • Use of certain medicines, including phenytoin, phenobarbital, and rifampin
  • Poor vitamin D absorption due to advanced age, weight-loss surgery, or conditions in which fat is not absorbed well

A low vitamin D level is more common in African American children , as well as in infants who are breastfed only.

A higher-than-normal level may be due to excess vitamin D, a condition called hypervitaminosis D. This is most commonly caused by taking too much vitamin D. It can result in too much calcium in the body . This leads to many symptoms and kidney damage.

A Test Usually Does Not Improve Treatment

Dr. Boz Vitamin D Test

Many people have low levels of vitamin D, but few have seriously low levels. Most of us dont need a vitamin D test. We just need to make simple changes so we get enough D. We need to get a little more sun and follow the following advice.

Even if you are at risk for other diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, a vitamin D test isnt usually helpful. The test results are unlikely to change the advice from your doctor. It is much more important for you to make lifestyle changes firstto stop smoking, aim for a healthy weight and be physically active. And, like most other Americans, you should try to get enough vitamin D from sun and foods. And talk to your doctor about supplements.

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Can I Have Too Much Vitamin D

Although rare, too much vitamin D can present some harm to the body. Signs of vitamin D toxicity are nausea, confusion, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. Additionally, severe overloading of vitamin D can damage the kidneys. Typically, these symptoms and vitamin D toxicity in general only occur when an individual has excessive use of vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D Testing And Supplements Can Be Controversial

Routine testing for vitamin D can be controversial among medical professionals.

The National Endocrine Society and the Institute of Medicine , for example, recommend vitamin D testing be limited to specific patients . Rosen and Madan also say not everyone needs vitamin D supplements, only those who have a confirmed deficiency and experience symptoms, according to Madan.

One of the criticisms of routine vitamin D testing is that it can be time-consuming and costly for insurance companies. Out-of-pocket costs for vitamin D tests could range from $40 to $225,according to Kaiser Health News. And typically, most vitamin D tests are covered by health insurance.

Another issue is that widespread vitamin D testing can result in unnecessary treatment of patients with supplements. “It leads to lots of people taking very high doses of vitamin D,” Rosen says.

There are concerns around consuming too much vitamin D according to the NIH, excess vitamin D can cause nausea, poor appetite, constipation and weight loss. Severe vitamin D toxicity can cause confusion, disorientation and problems with heart rhythm.

Additionally, there is not a lot of scientific evidence that taking vitamin D, if you do not have a deficiency, does anything helpful. It’s safe to take in small doses, Rosen says , but “whether it’s effective is really the question.”

The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements does not recommend whether or not to take supplements, but says the daily upper limit for adults is 4,000 IUs.

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Balances Blood Sugar Levels

Healthy levels of vitamin D help make sure were producing adequate levels of insulin, one of our blood sugar regulating hormones . Low vitamin D levels are associated with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and Type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, vitamin D deficiency in children seems to increase a persons risk of developing type 1 diabetes later on. One study even found that women with low vitamin D intake during pregnancy had babies with a higher risk of type 1 diabetes.

Vitamin C Deficiency: Signs Causes & How To Increase Intake

How to Test Vitamin D Level at home ? | So Easy

Spotting vitamin C deficiency is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding the symptoms that come with deficiency. Your body needs vitamins and minerals to function normally, and one of these is vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency can cause dry skin that easily bruises and more if left unresolved. Thats why its important to make sure youre getting enough of this essential vitamin so health problems from not getting enough vitamin C dont occur. Look to remedy the unwanted signs of vitamin C deficiency with supplements and eating sources of vitamin C.

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Vitamin D And Calcium For Bone Health In Postmenopausal Women And Older Men

Post-menopausal women and older men have traditionally been recommended 800 IU/day of vitamin D due to their increased risk of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures. This recommendation has been questioned. A recent meta-analysis reported no effect on the risk of fractures or falls and bone mineral density with vitamin D supplementation in community-dwelling women age 65 years or older.18 The US Preventative Services Task Force concluded that the current evidence is inconclusive to assess the benefits and harms of supplementation with vitamin D alone or in combination with calcium for the primary prevention of factures in community-dwelling postmenopausal women and asymptomatic men.19However, considering the strengths and limitations of the analyses, Osteoporosis Canada maintains that individuals with osteoporosis or with risk factors for fractures receive adequate vitamin D, recommended at 800-2,000 IU/day.20,21

Extra Tests Lead To Extra Treatments And Costs

Getting tests that you dont need often leads to treatments you dont need, or treatments that can even be harmful. For example, if you take too much vitamin D, it can damage your kidneys and other organs.

One blood test for vitamin D does not cost much. But doctors are ordering tests more often than ever, and the vitamin D test is now the fifth most popular lab test for older adults. All of these tests add up. In 2015, Medicare spent $337 million on vitamin D tests for seniors, up from $323 million the year before.

Read Also: What Does Vitamin D3 Good For

Supports Gut Bacteria In Producing Vitamin B5

We are still discovering the power of gut bacteria and what helps and what destroys them. This study showed that low levels of vitamin D changed the intestinal microbiome reducing vitamin B5 production in the gut.

If you interested in the connection between vitamin Bs and your hormones, check out this article.

Vitamin D And Immune Health

Vitamin D Test Kit, Level Insufficiency Deficiency Rickets Blood ...

While you cannot boost your immune system, you can certainly support it with proper nutrition and supplementation when necessary, Shaw says. Given the research coming out surrounding COVID-19 and vitamin D levels, I would definitely encourage the public to speak with their healthcare team to figure out the supplement level that is right for them.

To clarify, we dont want to boost immunity, Majumdar says, explaining an optimally-functioning immune system is what people need. Boosting implies that the immune system is on overdrive, or compensating for an outside invader.

, a professor of molecular endocrinology at the University of Birmingham, has studied vitamin D and the immune system. He tells Verywell that he doesnt think at-home tests are worth the effort unless you are severely deficient and are at risk of bone disease.

A key point here is that we do not know what an optimal levels of vitamin D is for combatting COVID-19, Hewison tells Verywell.

Even if you have a measurement taken, all that a clinician can tell you is whether you are deficient or not.

We dont know what level of vitamin D enhances your immune function, so I dont think that it is worth bothering with assays, he says. I would just suggest taking a daily supplement. I take 2,000 IU/day but this is purely my preference. Assume that you are likely to have low vitamin D levels during the winter and early spring and simply take a supplement.

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Foods High In Vitamin D

Other than fortified products , there arent a ton of great natural foods sources for vitamin D.

The best foods for increasing vitamin D intake are lard, some seafood including fatty fish, cod liver oil, and egg yolk. Lard has 13 IUs of Vitamin D per tablespoon, which still takes a while to add up if youre going for 5000.

Per 100 grams , Vitamin D shows up in the following amounts:

Cod Liver Oil: 10,000 IUSockeye Salmon : 859 IUSmoked Ciscoes: 530 IUEgg yolk : 218 IULard : 102 IU

Do Home Vitamin D Blood Tests Work

If you go with a reputable home blood test brand that sends out good testing kit, clear instructions, and uses accredited laboratories to test your blood samples, and details/communicates your results clearly, then yes, they should work.

Obviously, you have to take ownership of following instructions correctly and completing your part at home, as this is the most important bit to get right!

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How Is Vitamin D Deficiency Treated

The goals of treatment and prevention are the sameto reach, and then maintain, an adequate level of vitamin D in the body. While you might consider eating more foods that contain vitamin D and getting a little bit of sunlight, you will likely be told to take vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 and D3. D2, also called ergocalciferol, comes from plants. D3, also called cholecalciferol, comes from animals. You need a prescription to get D2. D3, however, is available over the counter. It is more easily absorbed than D2 and lasts longer in the body dose-for-dose. Work with your doctor to find out if you need to take a vitamin supplement and how much to take if it is needed.

What Does Sunlight Have To Do With Getting Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D – Checking Your Levels

There are health benefits of sunlight. Vitamin D is produced when your skin is exposed to sunshine, or rather, the ultraviolet B radiation that the sun emits. The amount of vitamin D that your skin makes depends on such factors as:

  • The season: This factor depends a bit on where you live. In areas such as Cleveland, OH, the UV-B light does not reach the earth for six months out of the year due to the ozone layer and the zenith of the sun.
  • The time of day: The sun’s rays are most powerful between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • The amount of cloud cover and air pollution.
  • Where you live: Cities near the equator have higher ultraviolet light levels. It is the UV-B light in sunlight that causes your skin to make vitamin D.
  • The melanin content of your skin: Melanin is a brown-black pigment in the eyes, hair and skin. Melanin causes skin to tan. The darker your skin, the more sun exposure is needed in order to get sufficient vitamin D from the sun.

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Vitamin D Tests: When You Need Them And When You Dont

Many people dont have enough vitamin D in their bodies. Low vitamin D increases the risk of broken bones. It may also contribute to other health problems. Thats why health care providers often order a blood test to measure vitamin D.

But many people do not need the test. Heres why:

A test usually does not improve treatment.

Many people have low levels of vitamin D, but few have seriously low levels. Most of us dont need a vitamin D test. We just need to make simple changes so we get enough vitamin D. We need to get a little more sun and follow the other advice found below.

Even if you are at risk for other diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, a vitamin D test isnt usually helpful. The test results are unlikely to change the advice from your health care provider. It is much more important for you to make lifestyle changes firstto stop smoking, aim for a healthy weight and be physically active. And, like most other Canadians, you should try to get enough vitamin D from sun and foods. And talk to your health care provider about supplements.

Extra tests lead to extra treatments.

Getting tests that you dont need often leads to treatments you dont need, or treatments that can even be harmful. For example, if you take too much vitamin D, it can damage your kidneys and other organs.

When should you have a vitamin D test?

Talk to your health care provider about your risks. Here are some conditions where you might need a Vitamin D test:

How can you get enough vitamin D?

How Often Do You Need To Get Your Vitamin D Levels Checked

Doctors do not usually order routine checks of vitamin D levels, but they might need to check your levels if you have certain medical conditions or risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes vitamin D levels can be checked as a cause of symptoms such as long-lasting body aches, a history of falls or bone fractures without significant trauma.

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What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by specific medical conditions, such as:

  • Cystic fibrosis, Crohnâs disease, and celiac disease: These diseases do not allow the intestines to absorb enough vitamin D through supplements.
  • Weight loss surgeries. Weight loss surgeries that reduce the size of the stomach and/or bypasses part of the small intestines make it very difficult to consume sufficient quantities of certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. These individuals need to be carefully monitored by their doctors and need to continue to take vitamin D and other supplements throughout their lives.
  • Obesity: A body mass index greater than 30 is associated with lower vitamin D levels. Fat cells keep vitamin D isolated so that it is not released. Vitamin D deficiency is more likely in obese people. Obesity often makes it necessary to take larger doses of vitamin D supplements in order to reach and maintain normal D levels.
  • Kidney and liver diseases: These diseases reduce the amount of an enzyme needed to change vitamin D to a form that is used in the body. Lack of this enzyme leads to an inadequate level of active vitamin D in the body.

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