How to determine the Vitamin D3 level

You can measure your vitamin D levels by using a blood test to determine if you have enough vitamin D in your body. In fact, not the active form of vitamin D is measured, but the concentration of 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) in the blood.

The 25 (OH)D value is a precursor of vitamin D, in which form is is transported in the blood. If necessary, this form is converted into the active form of vitamin D (calcitriol).

The 25 (OH)D value shows how much vitamin D you got through nutrition or produced during sun exposure. But this value does not tell you anything about your vitamin D levels throughout the year, which will vary depending on the sun exposure and vitamin D uptake from food.

The half-life of 25(OH) Vitamin D is 2 month. This means, that the vitamin D level will fall to half of its value, provided that you no longer get any vitamin D at all.

What does the 25(OH)D value mean?

Nobody can say what´s the optimal 25(OH)D value. Therefore, the suggestions vary by author. After viewing many different suggestions, we came to the following conclusion:

  • under 20 ng/ml - Vitamin D deficiency - there is an increased risk for rickets, osteoporosis, calcium deficiency and other vitamin D deficiency symptoms

  • from 21 to 40 ng/ml - insufficient Vitamin D supply - may eventually lead to deficiency symptoms

  • from 41 to 60 ng/ml - sufficient to optimal Vitamin D supply - ideal to maintain good health

  • from 61 to 80 ng/ml - normal to high Vitamin D supply - this value is still within the normal range

  • from 81 to 100 ng/ml - slightly increased value - does not necessarily represent a health risk. These values can normally only be achieved by taking vitamin D supplements

  • from 101 to 150 ng/ml - Vitamin D over supply - these values are not yet classified as harmful

  • over 151 ng/ml - Vitamin D intoxication - the oral intake of Vitamin D and sun exposure should be discontinued

  • over 280 ng/ml - will lead to a disturbance of the calcium metabolism

  • People in southern countries who get a lot of sun exposure, have often a value of 100 ng/ml or more, but do not show any signs of overdosage. Dark-skinned people usually need a 5 to 10 times longer sun exposure than people with light skin, to produce the same amount of vitamin D in the skin.

    Vitamin D production can vary significantly

    The ability of each person to produce vitamin D through sun exposure or to increase the vitamin D level by taking vitamin d supplements, can vary significantly and depends on age, body weight, skin color, sun exposure and life style.

    It is not said, that each person can reach the same vitamin D level by taking the same amount of vitamin D or having the same sun exposure. Some people may need more or less vitamin D per day to achieve the same level.

    Therefore, the recommended rules for calculating the optimal vitamin D dosage are only indicative. To know your personal vitamin D level, a 25(OH)D blood test has to be performed. It shows you exactly how your vitamin D level is changing depending on the vitamin D intake and sun exposure.

    What is the difference of the 25(OH)D value shown in ng/ml or nmol/l?

    In Europe the 25(OH)D value is usually measured in ng/ml. But any laboratories also use nmol/l.

    - To calculate a test result from nmol/l to ng/ml, divide the ng/ml value by 2,5. For example, 50 nmol/l are equal to 20 ng/ml (50 ÷ 2,5).

    - To calculate a test result from ng/ml to nmol/l, multiply the ng/ml valie with 2,5. For example, 20 ng/ml are equal to 50 nmol/l (20 x 2,5).