Should Patients Get Vitamin D Levels Checked During Periodic Physicals?

Vitamin D's health benefits argue for getting higher doses.


Vitamins are substances we ingest that our bodies need but which we cannot make ourselves. Hormones are substances our bodies can produce in one location which act at other sites in our bodies. Since sunlight acts on a precursor in our skin to produce vitamin D3,25, this is really a hormone rather than a vitamin. This molecule is hydroxylated at the one position to become vitamin D3 1-25, which is the active molecule in our body. Vitamin D3,25 levels are more stable and more accurately reflect actual vitamin D levels in our bodies than the 1-25 molecule. Now that this test is more widely available, we have discovered that vitamin D does far more than build strong bones, preventing rickets in children and osteoporosis in older adults. It may also enhance our immune system, and prevent infections and possibly malignancies including breast, prostate, and colon cancer.

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