It seems like new information about the benefits of vitamin D keeps popping up in the news. 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 and instead, recommends screening people who are 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 than 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 then you do not need to have your blood levels checked. However, this doesn’t mean that you should not be taking a vitamin D supplement. In general, all breastfed infants age 0 to 12 months should take 400 IU per day of supplemental vitamin D and everyone else should take between 600 – 800 IU per day to help maintain good health.

Dr. Carrie Noriega is a Ddrops Guest Blogger. She is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist, medical writer, and mom who is passionate about women’s health and empowering women to take charge of their own health. She enjoys writing about complex scientific information in an easy to understand manner in order to help people live healthier, happier lives.


 

  1. Looker AC, Johnson CL, Lacher DA, et al. Vitamin D status: United States 2001–2006. NCHS data brief, no 59. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2011.
  2. Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, et al. Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency: an Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011; 96(7): 1911-1930.