LOS ANGELES -
A government task force is out with new guidelines for Vitamin D screening. The panel found there's not enough evidence for or against screening.
Screening for vitamin D deficiency has become routine in recent years, but the U.S. preventive services task force is calling that practice into question for healthy adults. "We really just don't have enough evidence to say one way or the other whether screening for Vitamin D has a health benefit," said the task force's Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium for healthy bones. The greatest source is sun exposure. It is also found in fatty fish like salmon. The panel agrees vitamin D is important, but just how much is needed is unclear. "Unfortunately, what we don't know is exactly what levels really would classify someone as being deficient in Vitamin D," Dr. Bibbins-Domingo said.
But the task force does recommend discussing screening with your doctor if you show symptoms of being vitamin D deficient.
Thirty year-old Sakinah Ali takes vitamin D for her rheumatoid arthritis because it helps relieve joint and muscle pain. "When my doctor notices I am really low in vitamin D, she will prescribe an extra dose," Ali said.
Her rheumatologist, Dr. Natalie Azar with NYU's Langone Medical Center, says the task force is allowing doctors to make their own judgement calls. "What it sounds like to me is that the decision is therefore mine, individually making a decision on a case-by-case basis," Dr. Azar said.
She says at least 95 percent of her patients need more vitamin D.