You know by now how critical Vitamin D is for continued good health. After all, I tell you about it practically every week.
And as a Healthier Talk reader, I’m betting you also know how common vitamin D deficiency is, especially in seniors.
But it turns out that’s not the whole story.
New research suggests that vitamin D can act as a sort of crystal ball for our health. In fact, it could literally help predict our future health and disease risks.
That’s great news because it could be used to highlight when we need to make some needed changes fast before it’s too late. And it can help confirm when we’re on the right track.
The only trouble is they’re missing the mark when it comes to vitamin D testing. Because scientists say, it’s a SPECIFIC type of D that’s important. And it’s one that isn’t typically measured.
In other words, if you’ve had your D tested, it likely didn’t provide you with the complete picture.
TOTAL versus FREE vitamin D levels
When most folks get their vitamin D levels checked, they measure TOTAL vitamin D. And don’t get me wrong, this can be a useful number to look at. Plus, it certainly can help alert you if your D deficient.
However, your total vitamin D is actually made up of several forms of vitamin D, or what scientists call metabolites. Over 99 percent of those are bound to proteins. That leaves a minimal amount of biologically active D floating free through your bloodstream.
And no researchers behind a new study presented at the European Society of Endocrinology‘s 2020 meeting say it’s THIS number we ought to be looking at. They say it is a predictor of our health now and in the future.
The researchers crunched the data from the European Male Ageing Study, which followed over 1900 men between 40 and 70 for two years. They compared their total and free metabolites of vitamin D to the men’s current health status. They were able to confirm that low levels of both were associated with a higher death risk.
But when they dug a bit deeper, they discovered that their level of free 25-hydroxyvitamin D was an excellent predictor of future health problems for the men. While another metabolite called free 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D wasn’t.
Low D is linked to diseases of aging
In other words, the new study confirmed what we already knew about the importance of vitamin D to our health.
Low D is associated with a higher risk of developing age-related diseases such as…
- heart disease
… and more.
But now we know that it’s equally important to look specifically at our FREE 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. It’s this number that’s the best at predicting our future health and death risks.
And while the new study happened to focus on men, there’s every reason to believe the same will turn out to be true for women too.
Some vitamin D home testing kits you can buy online may measure both free and total 25-hydroxyvitamin D, but many do not. So if you’re interested in seeing those numbers be sure to confirm that this will be included in your test.
You can also check with your doctor about ordering a vitamin D test that shows the individual metabolites. But keep in mind some insurances may not cover the testing, so be sure to ask about costs upfront.
You can raise your vitamin D by spending more time outdoors with your arms, legs, and face uncovered. But to really have an impact on your levels, consider taking a supplement too.
And if you saw those headlines trashing vitamin D last year, calling it useless for seniors, don’t worry. It’s those headlines that are useless. Click on this link for the REAL scoop on D and older folks.