You need to check with your doctor first to see if you are deficient in vitamin D. Your doctor will perform a simple blood test and there is no need for you to fast before the test or to prepare for it in any other way.
To test for vitamin D deficiency usually the doctor will perform a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test.
You need to be aware that this blood test is different to one that you mayundertake at a regular physical. Be sure to discuss with your doctor that you are concerned that you may be deficient in vitamin D.
If the results of the test show that there is between 20 and 50 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter (ng/ml) in your blood this is considered satisfactory for the majority of healthy people.
But if the result is less than 12 to 20 ng/ml then the doctor will inform you that you are vitamin D deficient. Your doctor will recommend an intake of food rich in vitamin D or a supplement for you to consume each day.
Your Doctor may Prescribe Different Levels of Vitamin D
It may be the case that your doctor will prescribe vitamin D levels which are higher than the recommended amounts we discussed previously in an attempt to get you up to normal vitamin D levels.
Your doctor will probably prescribe a supplement rather than ask you to consume foods that have a higher vitamin D content such as fortified milk products, beef liver or fish.
Two Types of Vitamin D
You need to be aware that there are 2 types of vitamin D which are D2 and D3. D2 is also called cholecalciferol and is found in animal products. D3 is also called ergocalciferol and this is found in some plants.
You can get D3 over the counter at most pharmacies. If your doctor wants you to have D2 then a prescription is required for this. It is usual for D2 to be available in 50,000 IU and you will take this once or twice a week. D3 is absorbed by your body more easily.
Don’t take too much Vitamin D
Going out in direct sunlight will never provide you with too much vitamin D. But with supplements, you can easily get too much vitamin D and this can result in some nasty side effects such as hypercalcemia (this is too much calcium un the blood), poor appetite, constipation, increased thirst and urination, or nausea.
Extreme cases of too much vitamin D can cause confusion, weakness, and even ataxia (this is a neurological issue which can make you slur your words and act clumsily).
If your doctor prescribes more than the usual amount of vitamin D then you need to watch out for these symptoms and tell your doctor right away if you experience any of them.
Don’t Consume too much Vitamin A
As well as your vitamin D intake, keep an eye on the amount of vitamin A you are getting. Like vitamin D, if you have too much vitamin A in your body this can buildup and result in toxic side effects.