Are You Vitamin D Deficient?

At my last visit to the doctor for my annual physical, my doctor ran a blood test and told me I was deficient for vitamin D.  The lab test told me that a normal "bottom level" of Vitamin D in someone was 32 ng/ mL, and my level was a "20.8 ng/mL".  (I'm not sure what the "ng" part of the mL stands for, the lab report didn't actually tell me what that unit of measurement actually was.)
I felt ok, and was surprised to hear this.  My doctor told me it was very common in women who have osteoporosis, and in fact, that vitamin D deficiency might be a cause of this bone disease.  She also told me that there were no symptoms for this deficiency, and that more and more doctors are told to check their patients for it.

I started doing some research and found that low levels of vitamin D have been linked to increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, colon polyps, multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, muscle weakness — even depression and schizophrenia.  I also learned that some experts believe as many as 50 percent of healthy adults and children are deficient in this essential nutrient.

The reasons for this are simple:  we are an indoor society, and when we do go outside, many of us use sunscreen.  The farther away you live from the equator means you are much more likely to be deficient for Vitamin D.

My doctor put me on a regiment of 50,000 units of Vitamin D3 weekly, and told me that while it was possible to overdose on this vitamin, it was difficult to do.  She told me that lifeguards who spend time out in the sun much of the time have levels of up to 200 ng/mL in their system and are fine.   I also take a multivitamin every day that also has Vitamin D.

If you feel you might have Vitamin D deficiency, all you need to do is ask your doctor for a blood test.  You can do it at the same time you get your cholesterol checked.

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3 responses to “Are You Vitamin D Deficient?”

  1. Jacqueline

    Hi! ng/ml = nanograms per milliliter! Found your blog over at Women’s Health News. Thanks for this informative blog — I am definitely going to have my levels checked too. I’ve been researching vitamin D and women’s health — here is an article that goes into detail about vitamin D and women’s health:

    According to the article, here are some symptoms of vit. D deficiency:
    muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities.


  2. HealthBee » Scientific American Article on Vitamin D

    [...] also: Are you Vitamin D Deficient? posted by Heather at 7:32 pm [...]

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