What You Should Know About Vitamin D Testing

As we press into year two of quarantine in the U.S., questions about vitamin D testing have been raised. Is it beneficial or even necessary? When we soak up the sun, healthy levels of this vitamin cause the body to function properly and fight infestions. The query is: how do we know when we're getting enough vitamin D?

According to Cleveland Clinic, vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and bone health, and in some cases, decreases cancer risk. In 2019, JAMA Network released a short study revealing people of color with abundant levels of vitamin D are less susceptible to contracting COVID-19. By getting an adequate intake of this essential nutrient, the general population can avoid illnesses like heart disease and osteoporosis, to name a few. Expert opinions do tend to vary in defining high and low levels vitamin D. Minor deficiencies can be corrected by consuming fortified foods and ensuring daily sun exposure (via Healthline).

Vitamin D testing isn't for everyone

There's no immediate need to be tested if you believe you are in good health. Doctors determine whether someone should be tested. Healthy bones without fractures are an indicator you may be in the clear. Medline Plus says vitamin D testing may be helpful if someone who has a history of bone weakness or malformations, is obese, has a deeply melanated complexion, or is an older individual who doesn't get sunlight very often. Earlywell provides tests that can be done at home, while Quest Diagnostsics reports that in-clinic testing is available those with Medicare.

Overall health is the best defense. Julie Corliss, executive editor of Harvard Health Publishing, writes of vitamin D, "When possible, aim to get the recommended daily intake for your age from modest sun exposure, food and a supplement if needed". WebMD lists foods high in vitamin D as fish, eggs, beef liver, fortified orange juice, cereal, and dairy products.

Vitamin D testing is important for those with related health concerns, but is not essential for everyone. Talk with a registered physician for a quick check-up. Balanced levels boost the immune system and strengthen bones. To fill the body's basic needs for vitamin D, one can eat fortified foods and make outside activities a priority.