Blood Test for Vitamin D Level
This Decision Guide is for people who have had their vitamin D levels checked. If you had yours checked but don't know the result, contact your doctor to find out. Then return here!
You get vitamin D from three sources: foods, supplements, and sun exposure. There are several tests available to measure this vitamin, including:
- 25-hydroxy-Vitamin D (25OHD) — the best measure of your overall vitamin D level
- 25-hydroxy-Vitamin D2 (25-OHD2) — a measure of dietary or supplement intake of vitamin D
- 25-hydroxy-Vitamin D3 (25-OHD3) — a measure of vitamin D from supplements and from synthesis in the body
Your Vitamin D Level: Background Information
Vitamin D is an important vitamin because it helps the body absorb calcium. Calcium is important throughout the body, but it is of particular importance for keeping your bones strong. Vitamin D is also involved in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. Recent studies suggest that vitamin D may also be important in maintaining a healthy immune system, preventing cancer and, perhaps, preventing cardiovascular disease.
If your vitamin D level is low, you could develop softening of the bones (a condition called osteomalacia), which makes them fracture more easily. Kids whose bones are still developing may develop rickets if they don't get enough vitamin D. As mentioned above, low vitamin D may also be associated with other health problems, such as cancer or heart disease, although we need more research to confirm this.
Too much vitamin D is also not good, as it can lead to excessive calcium in the blood. Complications of this include nausea, muscle weakness, kidney disease, and heart problems.
Now, let's find out about your vitamin D results.
What is your 25-hydroxy-Vitamin D result?
Source: from Harvard Health Decision Guides, Harvard Health Publications, Copyright © August 2010 by President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Used with permission of StayWell.