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.

Return to Vitamin D Deficiency

See what others are saying

Comment from: linda, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 23

After having a total thyroidectomy the endocrinologist checked my vitamin D level and I was below 5. I am taking the 50,000 UI once a week for 8 weeks. I didn't even know it was low. I am glad she checked.

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Comment from: Jonathon, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 08

I am affected by weather changes. Sudden highs/sudden lows would leave me feeling like I went through a meat grinder. I have whole body ache, extreme fatigue and brain fog. Often I am very sleepy, sometimes I am mentally/emotionally fine, other times I feel depressed, as if there is pressure on brain. Headaches are always part of the weakness. I am 65 and in excellent health. I am health conscious, a strict vegetarian, no alcohol, no drugs; good wholesome outlook on life. I meditate. This condition has been getting worse over the years. I am outside a lot, but must not be absorbing vitamin D from the Sun. So I got tested for vitamin D deficiency and the doctor has put me on 50,000 IU of vitamin D twice a week for next 8 weeks.

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