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Vitamin D3 & Vitamin D Test Kit
By Laurel Sterling MA, RD, CDN, Carlson National Educator

Vitamin D is considered nature's sunshine vitamin, and it is a vitamin we can make in our bodies; however, it can only be made under proper conditions. Large-scale studies have found that deficiency is widespread in not just adults but in children as well. Vitamin D promotes healthy growth and development, supports teeth, bone, and muscle health, assists with a healthy immune and cardiovascular system as well as aiding in a healthier mood. Now there is a way to test your D levels right in the comfort of your own your own home! Carlson Labs has teamed up with Omegaquant to provide Vitamin D Test Kits available for purchase. It's as simple as gather the sample, mail it in, and get the results!

Many children like adults do not get enough time in the sun during certain crucial times of the year to make and maintain adequate 25(OH)D levels, which is the form that is tested in lab work. In addition to lack of time in the sun, it is also difficult to synthesize adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunlight due to sunscreens use, latitude, time of year, color of skin, and various other factors. There are not very many naturally occurring dietary sources of vitamin D. It can be found in the flesh of fatty fish like salmon (approx. 500IU in 3oz), mackerel, and tuna. It also is in fish liver oils, but not many people consume these on a weekly basis. Most of the dietary vitamin D comes in small amounts from fortified foods; therefore, many should look to supplemental vitamin D3 to maintain adequate levels throughout the year.

The Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board sets the standard and states adult sufficiency of vitamin D levels is 20+ng/ml. The optimal Vitamin D level range is not yet established, but somewhere between 30-70 ng/ml is desirable based off research. The amount necessary to increase and maintain D levels is different for everyone and varies throughout the seasons. If your level is very low, then you may be recommended by a practitioner to take anywhere from 4,000-10,000 IU (10-250mcg)/day for several months until levels increase into the adequate range. Carlson Labs has many options to choose from including soft gels and drops. Carlson's D3 soft gels range from 400IU(10mcg) to 10,000IU(250mcg). Their Baby's or Kid's Super Daily D3 drops are 400IU(10mcg) per drop, and The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants receive 400IU of vitamin D3 daily. For older children and adults, there are options ranging from 1,000IU(25mcg) to 6,000 IU(150mcg) per drop. The unflavored drops can be conveniently added to a drink, shake, yogurt, or it can be taken right off a spoon. Carlson also has delicious natural lemon-flavored Cod Liver Oil available in soft gels and liquid, and it naturally contains some vitamin D3. This too can be added into a favorite drink or food, or directly off a spoon. The Kid's Cod Liver Oil yields 200IU(5mcg) vitamin D3 per ½ tsp serving, and for older children and adults 1 tsp gives you 400IU (10mcg). Make sure to keep on top of your D levels throughout the year with the Carlson D Test Kit. It is a simple, at-home finger prick test that measures the amount of D3 in our blood by the gold standard LC-MS/MS method. Collect the sample yourself, mail it in and register it to receive the results. The Vitamin D Report you receive back will give you your D level, and this will help you and your practitioner determine how much supplemental D3 you will need to add in daily. Note that it takes at least 3 months to increase levels, and you can do a re-test to see if you have adequately increased your levels within 3-6 months. If your level is within the desirable range, then it is recommended to retest in 1 year.

Testing vitamin D has never been easier! Be sure to stay on top of your D levels and take advantage of these new Carlson Vitamin D Test Kits as it is so crucial for overall health in children and adults.

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