Vitamin D Test
A vitamin D blood test can direct us to the optimal supplement program. But for most people it is unnecessary to continue testing if the correct strategy is used.
For the winter months, 5,000 IU gel tabs are an inexpensive way of maintaining optimal blood levels.
Requesting a vitamin D test to monitor your blood levels is a good idea given the importance of the vitamin to our health. Research has shown that sufficient levels are essential for calcium absorption (to prevent osteoporosis) and for maintaining a healthy immune system. But for most people it is unnecessary to test repeatedly if the correct strategy is applied.
Many health plans will no longer pay for vitamin D blood tests except under extraordinary circumstances. Surprisingly, many plans do not include osteoporosis and osteopenia within the exceptions despite the importance of vitamin D for calcium absorption.
The vitamin D blood test is well worth the investment of approximately $50... if you are using it to evaluate your supplement program rather than just to see how you are doing. Most people living in the northern regions of North America are deficient in the winter, so there is no reason to take a test to prove that you are part of the crowd.
So here is how to maximize your investment and save your time and money:
- Get at least 15 minutes of sun daily in the spring, summer and Fall to build up your reserves.
- Begin taking 5,000 IU daily in November... unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from taking a vitamin D supplement
- Take your vitamin D test in late February or March when blood levels are usually the lowest.
- Ask the doctor for your results and write them down!
The acceptable blood range is 75-200nmol (30-80ng/ml)... and you really don't want to be at the bottom of the range. The Vitamin D Council suggests maintaining a level of 125 nmol/L (50 ng/ml) throughout the year. If you have succeeded in maintaining that level throughout the winter, you know that your supplement program is working. Paying for further tests should not be necessary... unless the doctor suggests that you do so.