Dr. Cedric Garland shares how a woman will know if her vitamin D blood level is placing her at an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
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How does a woman know if her vitamin D blood level is placing her at an increased risk for colorectal cancer? The best way is to do a test of the vitamin D in the blood, and that can be done in conjunction with the doctor or a dietician. A few drops of blood are put on a little platter that’s sent to a laboratory, and the laboratory returns a number, the 25-hydroxyvitamin D level. That varies in most people from anywhere from zero to 50 nanograms per milliliter, and if it’s at the low end, then the person works with the doctor or this dietician and comes up with a plan to increase the vitamin D level. And it may be from food, may be from supplements, may be from a little more exposure to the sun. Sun won’t work for that if the person has a photosensitivity disease, and these are usually rare diseases. One of them is xeroderma, pigmentosum, or is taking a medicine that causes photosensitivity such as tetracycline. But otherwise usually it’s a mixture of things: a little bit of sun, little bit of vitamin D from food, little bit from supplements, and then a retesting of the blood to see if the vitamin D level has climbed to a safe level.