Vitamin D Deficiency - Tests

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How is a vitamin D deficiency diagnosed?

All it takes is a simple blood test to find out if you are deficient in vitamin D, but determining the optimal level is not quite as simple. There is a lot of controversy about what the optimal levels and deficient levels are. The test will measure your 25(OH)D level. The Institute of Medicine set the guidelines for serum (blood) 25(OH)D levels to be as follows:

  • Deficiency: 25(OH)D level BELOW 12 ng/mL
  • Inadequate: 25(OH)D level BETWEEN 12-20 ng/mL
  • An adequate 25(OH)D level is between 20-50 ng/mL
  • Excessive: 25(OH)D level over 50 ng/mL

Many believe that 30 ng/mL should be the minimum for an adequate level. According to the NHANES national survey the average vitamin D level has dropped from 30 ng/mL in 1988-1994 to 24 ng/mL in 2001-2004. The percentage of those below 10 ng/mL has increased from 2% to 6%, and the percentage with levels of 30 or above has decreased from 45% to 23%. With the levels changing at this rate, this really has become an epidemic.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: julianna, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 30

I have suffered with depression, severe fatigue, muscle aches, and foggy memory for a couple of years now. I just dx with Vitamin D deficiency and have been prescribed 50iu Vitamin D supplement every two weeks for 2 months. I sure hope it helps!!

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Comment from: Laramie Morris, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: November 08

I have been suffering with severe headaches, body aches, bone pains, foggy memory, lack of focus and concentration and insomnia for more than 4 years. Initially I was treated with Prozac and Valium but though the sleep improved, I used to feel tired and exhausted, even after sleeping for 10 hours. I kept on with my medication till one day another doctor suggested that I do a Vitamin D level which turned out to be 0 ng/ml. I have been started on One-Alpha 0.25mcg capsules but I am not improving. I have read the literature and it says that I should get 50,000 IU per week for 8 weeks followed by 10000 IU daily for another 8 weeks followed by 1000 IU daily forever but I don't know how to convert IU into nanograms or micrograms and neither do the pharmacists around.

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