Although Vitamin D deficiency links with the risk of bone fractures, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, heart problems, cancer and sometimes even death, the screening used for showing the vitamin D levels in our bodies is not as effective as it was supposed to be.
The US Preventive Services Task Force released a statement in which they say that regular testing for Vitamin D levels is not beneficial to everyone, as it does not decrease health risks. The observation was made after an extensive review which also revealed the fact that there’s no threshold that actually defines vitamin D deficiency.
Researchers added that tests for vitamin D deficiency should be conducted only individually and not on a universal basis. The findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine Journal However, the results are not applicable for patients who have conditions like endocrine problems and bone or autoimmune disorders. The reason behind this is the fact that among these patients, testing for Vitamin D deficiency is used for managing their condition, not for regular screening.
Vitamin D testing in these populations (patients with certain conditions such as bone, endocrine, and autoimmune disorders) could be considered management of a condition rather than general screening,
said Michael LeFevre from the University of Missouri.
Also, both vitamin D deficiency and excess are considered harmful. The minimum Vitamin D levels in our bodies should range between 20 and 30 Nano grams per milliliter of blood. However, is is difficult to determine exactly what the vitamin D level is due to the range of different testing methods used in different laboratories. Moreover, some populations like the Africa-n Americans usually tend to have lower Vitamin D levels and is not known whether these low levels should be considered as deficient or not.
Further research is needed to determine the cutpoint that defines vitamin D deficiency, the sensitivity and specificity of various assays using an internationally accepted reference standard, and whether total serum 25(OH)D is the best measure of vitamin D deficiency in all populations,
Until a verdict has been reached, asymptomatic people will continue to be tested for Vitamin D deficiency or excess. The USPSTF also recommends vitamin D supplements for the elderly who present real symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
Among the best natural sources of vitamin D we have fatty fish and natural fish oils. Small amounts of vitamin D can be also found in beef liver, eggs and cheese.