Get Tested for Vitamin D Deficiency

By Craig Gustafson

A blood test is the only way to find out what your vitamin D level is. Following the results of this simple test, even people who take a multivitamin may find out that the vitamin D in their system is below optimum levels.
With the risks stemming from vitamin D deficiency that are now being revealed, it is very important for expecting mothers to get tested and start taking a supplement. A mother’s vitamin D level begins to drop at conception, and continues to fall until she stops breast-feeding—a deficiency she passes on to her infant that leaves the child open to significant health issues.
Yet, you may encounter some resistance from the health care system, as the importance of vitamin D testing is not universally recognized by medical practitioners and insurance companies.
Even if you are tested, misconceptions may cause some doctors to test for the wrong form of vitamin D or to be satisfied with a lower reading out of fear of toxicity. When testing for vitamin D, be sure that the test is for calcidiol, otherwise referred to as 25(OH)
D3. When looking at your results, the measurement may be provided in one of two ways. Recent research has come to a common conclusion, that vitamin D levels should be in the range of 40 to 65 ng/ml or 100 to 160 nmol/L (to convert ng/ml to nmol/L, multiply by 2.5).
Misconceptions about toxicity may cause your healthcare professional to recommend a lower level. While there are conditions that produce a hypersensitivity to vitamin D, sarcoidosis for example, research has shown that actual toxicity is very rare, and usually attributed to long-term accidental overdoses in adults that include weeks or months of exposure at levels well beyond 100,000 IU per day.
If testing is not available to you through traditional means, or you prefer to monitor your own levels, a test kit is available through the vitamin D council website at Independent testing may also be done through other labs, but be sure that you use the same lab to perform follow up tests, as national testing standards have not been established, and results can vary from lab to lab.
Once your level is determined, be aware that vitamin D requires some partner nutrients to have optimal effect and safety. Be sure to talk to your doctor about supplementation with vitamin D if you have a condition that creates hypersensitivity, or supplementation with vitamin K if you are on blood thinners.