FAQ: Should My Loved One Be Tested for Low Vitamin D?

5 answers | Last updated: Sep 21, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Should my loved one be tested for low vitamin D?


Expert Answers

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is the author of a popular blog and podcast at BetterHealthWhileAging.net. She is also a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics.

Your loved one should be tested for low vitamin D only if he or she is at high risk for suboptimal vitamin D intake. Testing for low vitamin D is currently not recommended for the general population.

People considered at high risk for low vitamin D include those who:

  • Are homebound or live in a nursing home or other facility.

  • Have dark skin.

  • Get minimal exposure to sunlight.

  • Have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or have a history of hip, wrist, or vertebral fracture (that is, fractures associated with having osteoporosis).

  • Suffer from illnesses affecting the bowel's ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins, such as celiac disease or Crohn's disease.

Many geriatricians check vitamin D levels in frail older adults who are at risk for falls. That's because low vitamin D levels are common in this group, and treating vitamin D deficiency has been shown to reduce the chance of future falls.

Adults who are very tan from sun exposure and those who take more than 2,000 international units of vitamin D every day are unlikely to be deficient in vitamin D, even if they're frail.


Community Answers

Myhcp answered...

If individuals of any age are experiencing anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder or chronic pain, or if they are taking an anxiolytic or antidepressant with sub-optimal results, I recommend that they see their physician and request a test of their vitamin D level. Vitamin D is an essential hormone for serotonin regulation, necessary to promote a healthy mood and better pain tolerance, and to achieve benefit from many psychoactive medications. Bonnie B. Crawford, MSW, LISW-S, LCSW Clinical Director, My Health Care Partner, LLC


Angiltarachrn answered...

I recommend all senior adults ask their physicians to have their Vitamin D levels checked, especially those living in colder climates. The recent research has shown the health problems associated with Vitamin D deficiency and new research continues to reveal more evidence supporting the need to be aware of our Vitamin D levels and supplement as necessary to help us all towards optimal health.

Not only are specific chronic illnesses such as Crohn's disease a problem for absorbing Vitamin D, but there are also medications that affect our ability to absorb and metabolize Vitamin D, such as steroids. Recent research also reveals a deficiency related to asthma.

Because there are many factors that contribute to deficiency, or optimal levels in each of us the only way to know if we have a deficiency is for us to obtain a simple blood test. If we can improve our health in any way by being tested and making sure our levels are optimal it is well worth the time and expense.


Chocola answered...

Last year my daughter died from breast cancer that had spread throughout her body. She had a mastectomy of both breasts that became severely infected. Shortly before her passing a blood test was taken to determine her Vitamin D. The test showed no Vitamin D in her body therefore she was not able to fight the progression of the disease.Since then my other daughter has been making sure she has vitamin D.


Jackie9397 answered...

FOR 4 WEEKS I HAVE BEEN ON 50,000 OF D . PRAYING IT HELPS ME. HAVE ANOTHER 4 WEEKS TO GO BEFORE DR. RETEST ME LOOKS LIKE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING MAY NEED TO TAKE LONGER TO GET IN BALANCE.I AM ONLY 65 YR, YOUNG BUT LIVE IN N=MORE NOTHERN STATE