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Test vitamin D level, then you know how much you need to take it

March 25, 2012
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Over the past several months, Vitamin D has been in the news, and it’s seemed like a magic bullet that can fight a range of life-or-death issues ranging from cardiovascular disease to colorectal cancer.

And though the jury’s still out on whether those claims are definitively true, what’s unarguable is the link between low levels of vitamin D and poor bone health.

But to get the maximum benefits from Vitamin D, you’ll need to do more than buy a bottle of it at your drugstore. Neil Binkley, M.D., a geriatrician at the University of Wisconsin, emphasizes the importance of individual analysis by a physician when it comes to figuring out how much Vitamin D is right for you. “It has to be done on a case-by-case basis,” he says. “For example, people are of different ages. One patient could be 180 pounds and another 280 pounds. It doesn’t make sense that they will all take the same amount.”

Because of variations like that, Binkley suggests taking a test to determine what your Vitamin D levels are. Currently, the standard procedure is 25-hydroxy Vitamin D, a simple blood test. According to the National Institutes of Health, a normal result will be anywhere from 30.0 to 74.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).

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