Posted by: Chris Maloney | June 11, 2011

Vitamin D Testing: Optional? Not Anymore.

Augusta, Maine — from the bridge

Image via Wikipedia

Evidently Vitamin D screening is causing a ruckus.  So a task force has come up with a solution.  Healthy people don’t need to be screened. 

When I saw this conclusion, I initially thought it was excluding a wide range of individuals.  But when I thought for a moment, who among us is healthy? 

The task force made many increased risk groups, including obesity or malabsorption.  I didn’t specifically see the heightened risk for individuals like Mainers who live in a sunless environment for six months of the year, but I think it was there.

The RDA for vitamin D is around 600 IU now for most of us, but those at increased risk need “at least 2-3 times more ” bringing the standard recommendation into the 2000 IU range for individuals with multiple risk factors

The range of deficiency also has risen.  Previously we saw 18 being the cutoff, but now the recommendation is for levels of 20 or even 30 for blood vitamin D. 

If a person is deficient, the treatment leaps from 2000 IU to 50,000 IU once a week.  Clearly the task force is not concerned about heart arrhythmias or hypercalcemia at a dosage of 50,000. 

The bottom line?  Get tested if you live in Maine, especially if you have another risk factor.  Currently my family uses LIQ20 (type it in as product code for Emerson), a solution of liquid vitamin D in olive oil.  One bottle lasts 11,000 doses and can be used by the entire family.  During the winter months, I really wouldn’t consider it optional. 

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