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Testing for Vitamin D Deficiency

September 28, 2018
What are the benefits of vitamin D? Vitamin D is required by our body to absorb calcium and promote bone growth.1 Because of this, experts have come up with a recommended daily intake of vitamin D. By foregoing this recommendation, we run the risk of being vitamin D deficient. What are the risks of not getting enough vitamin D? We’ll be going over this, and more, in the following infographic.

Infographic Script

The Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a key role in keeping bones and muscles strong,1 and helps regulate the immune system, while playing a major role in the life cycle of human cells. Additionally, studies are starting to show that higher levels of vitamin D correlate to lower risks of disease, although the results are not yet definite.

Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency

With vitamin D being a bodily requirement for absorbing calcium, being deficient can lead to soft bones in children and misshapen bones in adults. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to maladies, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Breast and colon cancer
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
Testing for Vitamin D Deficiency

Want to know whether or not you are vitamin D deficient? Fortunately, there are tests available; however, they aren’t for everyone. In fact, testing isn’t helpful for most, since experts have yet to agree on what low vitamin D even means.

People that should consider testing include those that have:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Celiac disease
  • Routinely take medications that could interfere with vitamin D activity

For everyone else, taking an over-the-counter supplement or simply incorporating more vitamin D into your diet should be sufficient.

Being Vitamin D Sufficient

The easiest way to get your vitamin D is through exposure to the sun. By regularly spending five to 30 minutes soaking up the sun during the spring, summer and fall our bodies can produce all of the vitamin D we’ll need throughout the year.2 Worried that sunscreen will prevent vitamin D absorption? Don’t be. An Australian study showed no difference in vitamin D absorption between adults that used sunscreen and those assigned a placebo cream.

The recommended amount of vitamin D
  • 600 international units (IU) 70 yrs and under
  • 899 international units (IU) 70+ yrs

You can also get vitamin D through supplements and food, such as salmon, tuna and mushrooms.

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  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/vitamin-d-testing-recommended-people-201411267547
  2. https://www.bcbs.com/news/press-releases/most-people-dont-need-vitamin-d-testing

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