Despite many studies demonstrating that low levels of vitamin D are linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, falls, cancer, depression, arthritis, hypertension and heart disease, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has just recommended against screening healthy people for vitamin D insufficiency. The panel says that the evidence supporting routine screening is unconvincing. In addition, laboratory tests for the vitamin are inconsistent. The Endocrine Society urges people at high risk of deficiency to get tested.
The People’s Pharmacy perspective is that we may not know if we are at high risk of deficiency. Vitamin D tends to get locked up in fat stores, so people with excess fatty tissue could have inadequate levels of vitamin D without realizing it. Those of us who spend most of our working day inside at a desk and out of the sun where our skin could make vitamin D might also be low in this crucial vitamin. To learn more about the risks of low vitamin D and ways to get more, you may want to read our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency. Then you will be able to tell if you should ask your doctor for a blood test, or send away for a home test kit to determine your vitamin D level.