Why take the Vitamin D Test?
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in the Western world. What is the reason for this? Many people simply don’t get enough exposure to sunlight. In addition, our geographic locations mean we receive too little sunlight to fill our vitamin D reserves.
A vitamin D deficiency causes symptoms such as fatigue, digestive problems and headaches. In addition, a deficiency can be detrimental to our health in the long term. Among other things, it increases the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. In scientific studies, people with health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and high blood pressure also often have a vitamin D deficiency too. Researchers suspect that too little vitamin D could increase the risk of these diseases.
It is therefore worthwhile for most people in central and northern Europe to check their vitamin D levels and optimise them if necessary. With the Vitamin D Test from cerascreen®, you can determine your levels – from home, anonymously and without waiting at the doctor’s surgery.
Who should take the Vitamin D Test?
A Vitamin D Test is worthwhile for almost everyone in central and northern Europe. In these latitudes, it is difficult to produce enough vitamin D for the whole year through exposure to the sun.
There are, however, some risk groups. The test is particularly suitable for you if the following applies to you:
–You suffer from symptoms such as chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle and bone pain or constant infections
–You spend little time in sunlight
–You suffer from intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease or coeliac disease
–You have an increased risk of osteoporosis
–You are 60 years old or older
–You have a dark skin type, so your skin needs more UV radiation to produce vitamin D
How does the Vitamin D Test work?
For the Vitamin D Test, take a few drops of blood from your fingertip with a lancet. Then, send your blood sample by return envelope to our specialised laboratory that measures the concentration of 25-(OH)-D in your blood serum.
What does the results report tell me?
The Vitamin D Test tells you the concentration of 25-(OH)-D in your blood, in nanograms per millilitre. You get a classification, in which range your value is. Here are some examples of the ranges that many of the results fall into:
–11 to 30 nanograms per millilitre: long-term vitamin D deficiency
–31 to 40 nanograms per millilitre: sufficient vitamin D levels
–41 to 60 nanograms per millilitre: good and vitamin D levels
The results report also gives you instructions on how to bring your levels into a healthy range with the help of vitamin D supplements. We give recommendations on how long you should take supplements for and which dosage we would recommend – as well as on how to keep your vitamin D levels at a healthy level for the long term.
How do I know if I am deficient in vitamin D?
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are usually rather generic and include:
– Tiredness, fatigue and low mood
– Sleeping problems
– Headaches and backaches
– Muscle weakness and musculoskeletal pain
– Increased susceptibility to infections
It is difficult to sense a deficiency – so to speak – and for this very reason, it often makes sense to check your levels with a vitamin D test. If you know your vitamin D levels, you can optimise them with vitamin D supplements, for example.
Why do I need vitamin D?
Vitamin D is both a vitamin and a hormone. It carries out numerous important functions and metabolic processes in our body, including:
– Formation of muscle fibres and muscle cells
– Skeletal structure and bone mineralisation
– Absorption of calcium and phosphate in the intestine
– Function of the heart muscle
– Strengthening the immune system
What are good sources of vitamin D?
The human body can produce vitamin D itself, but it needs UV-B radiation from the sun to do so. More precisely, we produce the prohormone cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) with the help of sunlight, which the body converts into the active form of vitamin D (25-OH vitamin D3).
Experts recommend sunbathing for 5 to 25 minutes a day in such a way that the sun’s rays hit about a quarter of the skin’s surface – for example, your face, hands and parts of the arms and legs. But you should be careful – too much UV radiation increases the risk of skin cancer!
The optimal time in the sun depends on the following factors:
– Skin type: Darker pigmented people need more sun to generate enough vitamin D
– Season: In winter, there is less UVB radiation and so the body produces less vitamin D.
– Time of day: People who are in the sun at midday produce more vitamin D because UVB radiation is highest then.
Through food, we can cover at most 10 to 20 per cent of our daily vitamin D requirement – for example, with fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel, as well as with liver and egg yolk. The sun is therefore paramount for a sufficient supply of vitamin D.
Which foods contain vitamin D?
Vitamin D3, which our body can absorb well from food, is mainly found in animal products, especially in:
– Fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel
– Margarine and butter
– Egg yolk and milk
– Plant-based foods such as mushrooms and avocados also contain vitamin D – but in a form that your body cannot absorb effectively
How much vitamin D does my body need?
For a long time, it was considered that we are sufficiently supplied with vitamin D from 30 nanograms per millilitre of blood (ng/ml). However, some doctors are of the opinion that we only fully benefit from the positive effect of the sunshine vitamin at an intake of 40 to 60 ng/ml.
Since we spend a lot of time indoors in the Western world and sometimes have few hours of sunshine a year, many of us cannot produce enough vitamin D, even in summer. Most people’s vitamin D levels are therefore below the norm all year round.
Do I only need vitamin D supplements in winter?
In winter, most people in central and northern Europe have lower vitamin D levels. Our body can hardly produce vitamin D because of the low levels of sunlight. That is why it is often helpful to counteract this with supplements.
However, many people do not have sufficient vitamin D levels – even in summer. This is due, among other things, to the amount of time we spend indoors and to the suncreams we use that protect us from UV radiation. So for some, supplements can be useful in summer too. It is simply best to find out your vitamin D levels – for example, by taking a test – and deciding on supplementation depending on your results.
Can you overdose on vitamin D?
Your body cannot simply excrete vitamin D through urine like many other vitamins. If your vitamin D levels are already within a healthy range and yet you take a very high dose of vitamin D, your vitamin D levels will be too high. Possible consequences of a vitamin D overdose include:
– Nausea and vomiting
– Cardiac arrhythmia
– Disturbances of consciousness
– Long-term weight loss, kidney stones and organ damage
For whom is the Vitamin D Test not intended?
The Vitamin D Blood Test is not or only partially suitable for certain groups of people:
– People with infectious diseases, like hepatitis and HIV, may not use the Vitamin D Test.
– People with haemophilia should not take the test.
– Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only take the Vitamin D Test under medical supervision. The given reference ranges and recommendations do not apply to people in this group; consult your medical professional for advice concerning your test results.
– The Vitamin D Blood Test is not intended for children under 18 years of age.
The test is not intended for diagnosing illnesses or disease. For example, if you suffer from depression or are in physical pain, consult a doctor.