Hey Doc, Should I have my Vitamin D Level Checked?
You may not know it, but your Vitamin D level might be running a little low. It's a little hard to say for sure because you don't have a warning light or dip stick to serve as an indicator. The number of people in this world with Vitamin D inadequacy (less than 30ng/mL of 25OHD) or deficiency ( less than 20 ng/mL of 25OHD) is growing to epidemic proportions. Studies have estimated that anywhere from 30% to upwards of 50% of individuals tested have low levels of Vitamin D.
But without a blood test, there is just no way to no for sure if you are one of those people running a little low. Here is the short list of reasons why you should have your Vitamin D level checked.
- Osteoporosis: Low bone mineral density may seem like an obvious reason. However, because Vitamin D is so important for strong healthy bones, it is worth mentioning.
- Recent Bone Fracture: Bone heals much faster when Vitamin D levels are normal.
- Upcoming Orthopedic Surgery: Many orthopedic surgeries involve cutting bone, removing bone, fusing bone and inserting hardware into bone; thus, Vitamin D levels should be screened prior to surgery.
- Pain: Yes, it's true. Low levels of Vitamin D are strongly linked to chronic pain probably because this vitamin helps to regulate inflammation.
- Heart Disease: If you have a strong family history of heart disease or have just discovered your own heart has problems, you should have your Vitamin D level checked because Vitamin D is known to help protect the heart.1
- Obesity: In two recent studies, obesity and Vitamin D deficiency have been linked. Low levels of Vitamin D leads to obesity and visa versa.2, 3
- Limited Sun Exposure: If you cover-up, have darker skin, or live where the sun doesn't shine, you need to have your Vitamin D level checked.
- Smoking: Those that smoke tobacco are at risk for so many diseases like heart disease, COPD, cancer and pain. Because Vitamin D helps to prevent many of these diseases, then it just makes sense that smokers should make sure that their Vitamin D levels are not too low.
Well this list of reasons to have your Vitamin D level checked could really go on and on. Why? Vitamin D is considered a "Universal Risk Factor".4 That means that a low Vitamin D level can put a person at risk for getting so many diseases that it is really considered a risk factor for everything. Because Vitamin D is as important as sunlight, water and food, then everyone should have their Vitamin D levels checked including children. Vitamin D is universally essential to every body.
- Osteoporos Int. 2013 Mar 7
- PLoS Med. 2013 Feb;10(2):e1001383.
- Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Feb 20.
- Curr Drug Targets. 2011 Jan;12(1):97-106