Am I deficient in vitamin D?

"Am I deficient in vitamin D?" It's a common question these days. And an important one.

More and more research is finding that vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to bone loss and increased risk of fractures. To preserve bone, The Endocrine Society recommends that blood levels of vitamin D be at least 30 ng/mL. The physicians and dietitians at Pritikin agree.

Higher levels, in the range of 40 to 50 ng/mL, may also be beneficial for pregnant women and for the prevention of cancer, pneumonia, dementia, and cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, hypertension, and diabetes. But the data are observational and therefore not yet conclusive. Toxicity has been observed at blood levels higher than 100 ng/mL.

“Am I deficient in vitamin D?” Find out.

Our primary goal here at Pritikin regarding vitamin D is making sure you are reaching 30 ng/mL to help keep your bones strong. And certainly, many of the lifestyle improvements you are making with the Pritikin Program also contribute to bone health.

CAUTION: Calling vitamin D the “sunshine vitamin” is misleading. Sunshine alone cannot be assumed to deliver sufficient vitamin D, especially if you live in the northern states, but many people in the south are also deficient. Moreover, few foods contain vitamin D. Some fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and dairy and/or soymilks contain modest amounts. But for many people, it is difficult to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from dietary sources alone.

To answer the question, “Am I deficient in vitamin D?” and determine if your blood levels of vitamin D are sufficient (at least 30 ng/mL), your Pritikin physician can order a blood test. If testing shows you are deficient in vitamin D, your physician will prescribe appropriate supplementation to correct the deficiency. Do keep in mind that increases in blood levels of vitamin D may take a long time – several months, maybe a year. To monitor your progress, have your vitamin D level tested at least twice a year.

If you are not planning a trip to Pritikin in the near future, you can ask your home physician to order this blood test.

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