From New Zealand Doctor
Testing for vitamin D status at $31 a pop is on the rise - but rarely justified.
Most patients at high risk of deficiency can be prescribed a supplement, or advised on safely getting more sun, without a test, New Zealand researchers suggest.
Those at high risk include people with deeply pigmented skin, the frail elderly, and people who actively avoid the sun for cultural or medical reasons, according to the authors of a viewpoint in the latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal (10 February online).
The article says the number of requested tests in the Auckland region grew by 380 per cent between 2000 and 2010.
In the summer months, 13 tests may be needed to determine one case of deficiency.
Vitamin D measurements should arguably be requested only when the result is likely to change patient management, say the viewpoint's authors.
The few clear-cut cases include investigation of rickets or osteomalacia and other uncommon metabolic bone diseases, and hypocalcaemia.
The article says active, community-dwelling New Zealanders with regular sunlight exposure do not need vitamin D testing or supplements.
Tests may need to be restricted, which might reduce the number of testing sites to only the most accurate assay-providers, say the authors.
The authors include Auckland University medicine professors Ian Reid and Tim Cundy, and bone and joint senior research fellow Mark Bolland.
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Many reasons why vitamin D deficiency has become epidemic 26 as of Feb 2012 list without hyperlinks follows
- Air conditioning - to avoid the hot sun
- Increased use of multi-media indoors - TV, DVD, video games, and internet access
- More indoor jobs - more office workers, fewer farmers
- Living in cities more - where there is less UV and they have less opportunity to be outdoors
- Want whiter skin - especially women
- Fear skin cancer -
- Cholesterol reduced - which the skin need to produce vitamin D
- More Obesity -
- Soft drink cola - uses up Calcium which uses up vitamin D
surfers in Hawaii (PDF), who drank large amount of cola soft drink, had low levels of vitamin D
- Meat from factory farms - has far less vitamin D than from free-range farms
- Some drugs consume vitamin D
- increased use of polyunsaturated fats decreased bio-availablity of vitamin D
- Eat less liver - which used to have very large amounts of vitamin D
- Less Magnesium in foods - Magnesium is needed to utilize vitamin D (as well as build bones)
- Excessive clothing (burka, nun habit, . . .)
- Have a condition which Consumes vitamin D
- Have a condition which Prevents Adsorption in the gut
- Have a condition which Prevents Conversion to active vitamin D
- Have a condition which requires more vitamin D - or time in the sun
- Lactose Intolerance or Vegan – and thus not get vitamin D from milk in US and a few other countries
- Health reasons to avoid sun (skin cancer, burn easily - redhead, etc) - ALTERNATIVES
- Work long hours or night shift Long hours reduced vitamin D by 8% – April 2011
- Live far from equator even more of a problem if the region is also cloudy (Washington State,
- DDT and some other pesticides in our bodies reduce the vitamin D perhaps 3 ng
- Myths about vitamin D caused people and researchers to not consider useful amounts
- Overview Deficiency of vitamin D
- Quick, free, self test of vitamin D deficiency
- Low cost vitamin D Blood Tests
- *((No vitamin D test needed before supplementing (typically) – April 2014))
- Reasons for low response by vitamin D level in the blood
- Many reasons why vitamin D deficiency has become epidemic 26 as of Feb 2012
- Overview Deficiency of vitamin D
- Vitamin D insufficiency in UK youths – 37X more likely if dark skin – July 2011
- After 245,000 vitamin D tests 121,000 supplemented but only 5,400 had 2nd test – Oct 2011
- Consultation to medical professionals on Vitamin D Testing - Sept 2011
- Perhaps use a low cost test of excess Calcium in bloodstream
- “Sunlight Officers” in some Australian senior facilities – Sept 2011
- 10X increase in vitamin D tests in Australia – time for the doctors to learn about vitamin D – April 2011
- Most Australian GPs still believe the myth than 10 minutes of sun a day is enough – June 2011
- Huge increase in food allergies in Australia may be due to low vitamin D
- Vitamin D deficiency and testing in Australia are epidemics - Aug 2011
The number has grown more than 50-fold in a decade - and has doubled in just two years
Screening during pregnancy could add 300,000 to the total.
They are considering vitamin D testing for all pregnancies - but they see a large direct cost, but not the huge cost savings
It would be far less expensive and far better for the women to just have them take about 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily
- Vitamin D testing expected to grow 33 percent per year - Feb 2012 price expected to drop by half soon
- 73 percent of Australians had too little vitamin D a decade ago – Dec 2011