Vitamin D Testing
Vitamin D testing measures your blood vitamin D, the fat-soluble, sunshine vitamin that is essential for good health. There are different types of vitamin D tests. The most common test is vitamin D3 hydroxy or total D3 and D2 hydroxy. This is the test you may have done with Tobias.
Why is Vitamin D so important?
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and in balancing calcium and phosphorus in our blood. It has a host of other important roles in the body for:
muscle strength and in muscle and nerve function
strong bones and teeth
building a strong immune system to fight virus and bacteria
reducing falls and fractures in the elderly, to name just a few
Scientists are still trying to understand the many ways in which Vitamin D helps us. Its role in other areas that shows promise, but still needs more research are:
Managing healthy weight
helping in mood disorders and depression
Reducing the risk of getting certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes
Am I getting enough Vitamin D?
The main ways in which your body can get and/or make vitamin D are from sunlight, few foods and supplements. The only sure way to know is by getting a blood test. Everyone’s body is individual and responds in a unique way. You may or may not reach your therapeutic blood D target with the combined effect of sun exposure, food, and supplements. Your genes, skin pigment and colour, your weight, fat levels, health, and your body’s individual ability to absorb and activate D are some of your unique attributes that will affect your D levels. Other nutrients in your diet such as Magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A and others will also influence your level.
Do I need the Vitamin D Test?
Many factors influence the actual level of vitamin D in your body, such as your genes, skin colour, the environment, your health, interaction with other nutrients, and your exposure to UVB rays from sunlight. Sunlight, your main source of UVB rays that produce D in your skin do not reach the northern latitudes such as Winnipeg, most of Canada and the northern US states in the winter months from about October to April. Simple factors such as clothing, sunscreen, cloud and smog and glass also block UVB rays and the amount of D your body will make. Therefore, a large number of people living in northern regions have been shown to have LOW D levels. It is not how much D you get from sun exposure, or take in from supplements and food but the actual target blood levels your body ultimately can build up that will matter. Everyone’s body is individual and responds in a unique way. With so many factors at play, it is a real challenge trying to figure out if you have the right levels of vitamin D in your body without being tested.
I take Vitamin D - do I still need to test?
Having too much or not enough vitamin D has consequences. As explained above, many factors influence your body’s ability to achieve and maintain healthy D target level. Taking a vitamin D supplement does not guarantee that your body will achieve healthy level in the blood. Other than testing, there is no sure way to know If your ACTUAL blood level of D is too high or too low from the combined exposure from light, food, and supplements.
Can too high or too low levels be dangerous?
Yes, scientific evidence suggests that not enough or high levels of D in your body can have negative effect. At the low end it can affect your immunity, bone and muscle health. At high levels, excess absorption of calcium and other minerals are reported to be deposited in blood vessel walls, and in soft tissues such as liver and kidneys giving rise to problems such as gall and kidney stones.
How can I get my test?
Schedule your test here. It takes about fifteen minutes for your blood to be taken (it is just a few samples taken from a finger poke) and you will usually get your results the same day by email.
How much is the test?
The test is $119 (no doctor requisition required) and may or may not be combined with other services. If you book a live blood analysis, for example, the Vitamin D test may be added during your appointment without having to book ahead of time. If the Vitamin D test is the only service you would like to book, you may book it online here.
Tobias uses this state of the art darkfield microscope to analyze live and dry blood samples, and in other biological research. Micrograph above: Red Blood Cells from live blood analysis and examination.