Several million people are expected to undergo lab testing of their vitamin D levels this year, according to a report in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine. But before you roll up your sleeve, ask your doctor why you should get tested and what, if anything, might be done based on the test results, especially if they're only kinda low.
Doctors are finding it “challenging” to interpret results that are only slightly below normal, says the author of the article, Clifford J. Rosen, M.D., from the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough and a member of an Institute of Medicine committee that recently released new recommendations for the vitamin. The implications of such results are “incompletely understood,” he says, for many reasons.
Bottom Line: Before you get your vitamin D level measured, ask your doctor why you might need to. Also ask what you might have to do if those levels are low. For example, would you need to make dietary changes, or take supplements? Finally, if you do get tested, ask about the lab where the results will be sent, and whether it is reliable.
—Doug Podolsky, senior editor
Read more about good dietary sources of vitamin D.