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Vitamin D is not a screening test, routine check up is not required: Doctors

Know why routine testing for Vitamin D is unnecessary, according to medical experts. Learn why supplementation should be targeted rather than indiscriminate.

Written By: Muskan Gupta @guptamuskan_ New Delhi Published on: June 09, 2024 13:24 IST
Vitamin D
Image Source : SOCIAL Vitamin D routine check up is not needed, says doctors

In recent times, the significance of Vitamin D often dubbed the sunshine vitamin, has gained substantial attention in the realm of health and nutrition. However, amid the buzz surrounding its benefits, a new set of guidelines issued by the US Endocrine Society is prompting a reconsideration of our approach to this essential micronutrient.

Contrary to popular belief, Vitamin D is not a screening test, nor is it a supplement meant for indiscriminate use. Instead, it plays a crucial role in bone and teeth development, as well as in bolstering the immune system. Yet, despite its importance, the notion of routine testing and supplementation is being challenged by experts.

The Endocrine Society's latest guideline advises against routine testing and supplementation of Vitamin D for healthy adults up to the age of 75. This recommendation is a departure from the widespread practice of testing and supplementing across the general population.

Dr. Phulrenu Chauhan, Section Head - Endocrinology, Consultant - Endocrinology, P. D. Hinduja Hospital, emphasised the overzealousness surrounding Vitamin D supplementation. She told IANS, "Vitamin D is supplemented by probably just about everyone who deals with health, nutrition, health coaches, and similar who have no idea what high levels or doses of vitamin D can do."

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

Echoing Dr. Chauhan's sentiments, Dr. Anoop Misra, Chairman & Director of Diabetes and Endocrinology at Fortis C-Doc Hospital, highlighted the costliness of routine Vitamin D testing and the lack of positive outcomes associated with supplementation in healthy individuals. "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," he said.

"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.

In essence, the new guidelines advocate for a more nuanced approach to Vitamin D supplementation, focusing on targeted intervention rather than blanket testing and supplementation. As our understanding of this vital nutrient evolves, it becomes increasingly clear that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be conducive to optimal health outcomes.

(with IANS inputs)

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