Vitamin D not a screening test, need not be routinely checked: Doctors

New Delhi:  Vitamin D is not a screening test, and there is no need to regularly test for the essential vitamin good for bones and heart, said doctors on Saturday, amid new guidelines by the US Endocrine Society.

Also known as the sunshine vitamin, it is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in two main forms: D-2 and D-3.

It is an essential micronutrient important for the development of bones and teeth and also the regular functioning of the immune system. Several studies have linked its deficiency with common disorders including musculoskeletal, metabolic, cardiovascular, malignant, autoimmune and infectious diseases

This resulted in widespread supplementation and increased laboratory testing in the general population.

The Endocrine Society in the US, this week, issued a new guideline recommending against Vitamin D testing and supplementation for healthy adults till the age of 75 years.

The panel suggested against routine 25-hydroxyvitamin D testing for generally healthy individuals who do not otherwise have established indications

“Vitamin D is supplemented by probably just about everyone who deals with health, nutrition, health coaches and similar who have absolutely no idea what high levels or doses of vitamin D can do,” Phulrenu Chauhan, Section Head – Endocrinology, Consultant – Endocrinology, P. D. Hinduja Hospital, told IANS

He lamented that laboratories are also offering vitamin D evaluation in their packages.

“Vitamin D tests need not be done routinely. This is recommended only in certain specific situations. It is certainly not a screening test,” Phulrenu said.

The new guidelines recommended vitamin D intake only for children, pregnant women, seniors aged over 75, and adults with high-risk pre-diabetes.

“Except for these specific conditions, routine measurement of Vitamin D levels is not recommended, as it is costly and supplementation may not lead to positive outcomes in healthy individuals,” Anoop Misra, Chairman & Director, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Fortis C-Doc Hospital, told IANS.

“Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in the Indian population, but its significance is not known to the vast majority of people. In children, it can reduce the incidence of rickets; in the elderly, it can decrease mortality; during pregnancy, it can reduce adverse foetal outcomes; and in those with prediabetes, it can prevent the development of diabetes. It is recommended to be administered under these conditions,” the expert noted.


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