Interviewer: We're with Dr. James Dowd, the author of The Vitamin D Cure. In your book, you talked about being Vitamin D deficient. How do we know if we are or not?
Dr. Dowd: The best way to find out if you're Vitamin D deficient is to get a blood level done. It's the most accurate. We can do risk profiles. There's one on the website for the book. There's one in the book. The risk profiles can give us an idea of whether we're Vitamin D deficient. But the most accurate way to know for sure what you're level is and is you're deficient is to get a blood level.
The test that you want to get is called a 25-Hydroxy vitamin D. There are actually two Vitamin D tests. There's a 25-Hydroxy D3 and there's a 1,25-Dihydroxy D3. The 1,25 is the active hormone, but it's not a good representation of how much substrate, or building materials, you have to make that active hormone that are stored in your body. The 25-Hydroxy D is a much better measure of total body scores. So that's the one that you want to measure to know whether you need to tank up, whether your tank is high or tank is low, or where you stand.
You can get these tests done through your doctor's office and it should be paid for by your insurance. I've been doing this for six years plus now and I've never had the test not paid for. They just have to code it correctly. I code it as Vitamin D deficiency and 70% of the country is deficient. Just put that down as the diagnosis and prove it true or untrue with the test. There are actually mail order tests that you can get, which use a blood spot, just a finger stick to measure. Those are fairly accurate as well, but those are going to cost you money to do.
Some patients don't want to go to their physician or their physician may say, 'I'm not measuring it because it doesn't need to get measured. Everybody gets enough Vitamin D.' I used to hear this a lot, less so now than I did before. So, the test is the most accurate way to find out what your scores are.
Interviewer: That being said and as important as it is, it's not that common. Most of us have had blood tests a number of times from the doctor's office, but that's not included. Why isn't it more common?
Dr. Dowd: I think it's anything that is somewhat new, new or old, Vitamin D isn't a new molecule, but how we think about it and the context we think of it is new. We now associate Vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk for cancer and we associate it with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure and depression.
And so, the context in which we see Vitamin D has completely changed in the last five to ten years than prior to that timeframe. When that context changes, behavior starts to change, but those changes occur very slowly. So it takes a long time for it to trickle from research to a new idea to putting it all into practice.
There are practitioners out there who are at that leading edge and they've been measuring Vitamin D levels now for several years. And then there are other practitioners who are still at the trailing edge and they're just not so sure that this is a cost effective way to do medicine and that we should be measuring this test. But the studies show that Vitamin D is linked to All Cause Mortality Vitamin D levels. When your Vitamin D levels fall below 32, which is what we think the breakpoint at the low end is, your risk of dying from anything and everything starts to rise. And it continues to rise the lower you get.
You could probably get a similar graph for cholesterol and we don't seem to have any inhibitions about ordering lipid profiles in patients to look at their cholesterol. There are lots of lifestyle changes that correct the cholesterol and cholesterol is a steroid hormone. There's another steroid hormone that correlates with All Cause Mortality and its Vitamin D. There are lifestyle changes and targeted supplements you can take to correct that as well. So, I think of it as an opportunity to identify something that we can actually do something about with simple lifestyle changes and targeting supplementation that has a broad impact on a patient's overall health.
Dr. James Dowd explains why it's important to get a Vitamin D test and what the best test is. He explains how Vitamin D levels have been shown to be linked to all-cause mortality. Find out what level you need to be at!
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