Who should get a vitamin D blood test?

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
Some evidence -- albeit much of it still preliminary -- suggests that low levels of vitamin D may be associated with several cancers and perhaps cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. These findings have prompted a flurry of interest in vitamin D, leading some doctors to recommend vitamin D blood tests. The test measures your blood concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D. If you are over age 70, have darker skin, or live in a northern climate, you might consider asking your doctor about this test. Other people who should ask about testing are those with medical conditions that affect fat absorption (including those who have undergone weight-loss surgery) or people who routinely take anticonvulsant medications, glucocorticoids, or other drugs that interfere with vitamin D activity. However, beware of the now popular misuse of the term "deficiency" when interpreting your test results. True “deficiency” occurs at very low levels, much lower than levels currently called “insufficient” or even “deficient” by some popular groups.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.