For eight months now I’ve been supplementing with 6000-8000 IU of D3 on a daily basis. In the absence of any initial test of blood levels, my self-prescription was a complete shot in the dark based loosely on posts I’d read on his and others’ blogs.
A Trip to the GP
Finally, a few weeks back, I decided it was time to find out how the supplementation was going. So I asked my GP if he could do the Vitamin D (25-OH) blood test. His immediate response was, “Why do you need that? Just go outside in the sun.” I explained that, being over 40, I was concerned my ability to make my own Vit D was impaired hence the supplements and follow up test. This irritated him even more at which point I was told he was “too busy to discuss this now” and “go talk to the receptionist.”
To make a long story short, the lab they work with does not do this test. I suppose this story is irrelevant other than to warn you that your “weird” views on Vitamin D may be met with derision.
Saved again by the internets!
Fortunately, I had already learned that I could order a home test over the net. They even do the tests internationally! The cost for those outside the US is US$90 including shipping.
So I placed the order and it arrived promptly by courier a few days later.
Basically you need to prick your finger and put a few drops of blood on a paper tablet then return it through the post to the lab.
It’s almost a no-brainer however I would definitely recommend that before you prick your finger, you should swing your arm around a few times to ensure that you get enough flow to fill the card. Swinging your arm after you prick your finger results in a scene out of CSI.
I suppose the swinging bit may not be necessary in all cases but my initial pricking effort produced only one drop of blood. But I digress…
With the test complete including only minor spillage on the test card (excluding aforementioned spatter on walls, ceiling and floor), I sent it back through the regular post… And about two weeks later my results arrived by mail.
Verdict? My 25-OH score was 73 ng/ml – pretty good. This is very close to optimum (the ranges doctors work to vary but for the proponents of Vitamin D it’s typically in the 50-70ng/ml range).
However, my results came with this warning:
Your blood vitamin D level is with the reference range (32-100ng/ml), but slightly above the range most experts consider as optimal for health (50-70 ng/ml). Excessive levels of Vitamin D over a prolonged period of time can be unhealthy.
I suppose they have to say that to cover themselves but frankly I was hoping they were going to tell me what a star I am.
It’s also worth noting that the quote, repeated verbatim, shows some wavering over whether or not to capitalize “Vitamin D.” As I was looking for guidance on that point I’m still lost.
The Test Kit Contents
My Bloody Results
PS: I’m going to drop my daily dose of D3 to 2000IU.