Vitamin D Analysis – How to check Vitamin D Levels at Home?
The article discusses what is known about Vitamin D deficiency and health, why it has become an issue, resources of Vitamin D (including dietary sources), sunlight production of Vitamin D, indoor environments that limit natural production of Vitamin D, UVB lamps for supplementation of vitamin d3 for humans and animals, and the British government’s response to Vitamin D deficiency and recommendations for its prevention.
Sunlight is a prerequisite for the production of vitamin D in the human body. This photochemical process involves UV-B radiation (290–315 nm) striking 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin producing pre-vitamin D which is then converted to vitamin D. Vitamin D is also produced by plants, e.g. mushrooms.
Vitamin D deficiency is identified as serum 25(OH)D <25 nmol/L (10 ng/mL). Typically any level below 50 nmol/L (<20 ng/mL) indicates inadequate intake of Vitamin D, suggesting a chronic deficiency state.
Severe vitamin D deficiency is associated with bone deformities and a range of medical conditions including rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults, and, potentially, increased risk of fractures and falls as well as muscle weakness. All-cause mortality for those with severe deficiency has been shown to be higher than that of the general population.
During the winters in latitudes greater than 37 degrees north (and especially at higher altitudes), insufficient UVB radiation for vitamin D production occurs for several months, which may lead to seasonal affective disorder/winter depression.
This can be treated with daily supplementation or increased exposure to sunshine. Other populations that are at higher risk of deficiency include the elderly, obese people, those with dark skin pigmentation, and those who are housebound or institutionalized.
Vitamin D deficiency is common worldwide, but the problem is greatest in northern latitudes where there is less sun exposure throughout the year. Migrant studies show that South Asians have a high prevalence of low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (up to 80%) and are at higher risk for osteomalacia.
The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency has increased in Australia since the 1980s, possibly due to less exposure to sunlight, but it is still unknown why this problem is more pronounced in non-Caucasians. The estimated prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency among Australian adults (19–49 years) is 31% in females and 23% in males.
A study of pregnant women in Adelaide found that 42% were Vitamin D deficient (<50 nmol/L) at the end of winter, increasing to 86% by 1 year later. There are reports that infants born to mothers who are Vitamin D deficient are more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes, rickets, and suffer acute respiratory infections. The risk of cardiovascular disease may also be increased in children who do not receive sufficient Vitamin D during their first year of life.
How to check Vitamin D Levels at Home?:
During the winter months, our bodies receive less sun exposure than other times of the year. You may find yourself walking around in a thick woolen coat with gloves on your hands and never leaving the comfort of your centrally heated home.
You should still take care to protect yourself against UVA/UVB rays however if you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels, you can easily check them by ordering a home testing kit.
Vitamin D test strips:
A meter that measures IONIC ABSORPTION (this is not an electrical current) or PH (such as the ones used for checking aquarium water). If you are using ionic absorption, it is important that the procedure below is done correctly for an accurate test result.
Vitamin D Test Instructions:
1. Clean your hands thoroughly before handling the test strip
2. Remove 1 test strip from the bottle and immerse in a small bowl of tap water for 10 seconds, ensuring all of the test strips is wet
If using ionic absorption equipment, immerse the entire device in tap water for 10 seconds If using PH equipment, immerse the electrode in tap water until the pointer level reaches 0 on the scale
3. Remove the test strip from water and shake off any excess droplets
4. Place test strip flat against your moist palm or thigh (the area of skin where you normally bend it) with the code number facing upwards
5. Check the code for a two-digit number
This is your Vitamin D3 level in ng/ml or nmol/L.
What do I do if my levels are low?
If you have a Vitamin D level that is below 50ng/ml it indicates deficiency and you should consider getting some sun exposure. If you are unable to get enough sun exposure, consider taking a supplement containing Vitamin D3 which can be purchased at any health food store.
If your level is between 50-75ng/ml you are not currently deficient but maybe if expose yourself less to the sun in the summer months. You should still take some daily supplements however to keep your Vitamin D levels high.
If you have a level over 75ng/ml this means you have adequate or even higher than adequate levels of Vitamin D and you need not take any supplements however it is still advisable to get sun exposure as long as the UVB rays are present as this helps with many aspects of health such as heart disease prevention, reducing inflammation and even protection against certain types of cancer.
What is a CBC?
A complete blood count (CBC) is a test that provides information about the cells in a patient’s blood. It can also show an infection status, fatigue level, and certain diseases.
The procedure for this test is easy – all you need to do is get your GP or specialist to arrange one at your next appointment.
A CBC test is a good way to determine your Vitamin D levels.
The Normal reference range for vitamin d according to Wikipedia
Normal values are as follows:
– Below 30 nmol/L (12 ng/ml) indicates a severe deficiency in adults and children aged 1 year or older
– Between 30nmol/L and 50 nmol/L (12 and 20 ng/ml) indicates a deficiency in children and adolescents under 18 years
Is it worth getting tested if my level is normal?
If you currently have a Vitamin D blood test result that shows your levels are “normal”, this does not necessarily mean you don’t need supplements. People with high levels of vitamin D can experience adverse effects of vitamin D that include increased risk for certain cancers like prostate, colon, and breast cancer.
Vitamin D is involved in calcium absorption which is essential to maintaining healthy bones and teeth; therefore, if your levels are higher than the normal reference range it might be advisable to consult with your doctor about taking supplements or at least make sure you are getting some sun exposure on your skin.
If you are not, then supplementation is highly recommended because it will prevent other problems later in life such as osteoporosis and other bone-related issues.