UK launches vitamin D test to prevent osteoporosis

A newly released test that determines bodily levels of vitamin D may contribute to osteoporosis prevention by helping clinicians detect vitamin deficiency earlier.

Called the ARCHITECT 25-OH Vitamin D assay, the test was developed by British medical product company Abbott to detect the amount of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, or calcifediol, in the blood.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has said that 25-hydroxy vitamin D tests, or "assays," are the most accurate way to determine how much vitamin D a person is consuming.

Along with calcium, consuming vitamin D is one of the most effective ways to prevent the onset, or reduce the severity, of osteoporosis, according to the NIH's Office of Dietary Supplements.

The health agency reports that at least 20 nanograms of calcifediol per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) is necessary for adequate bone health, although it warns that oversupplementation - meaning having a blood level of more than 60 ng/mL - can be dangerous.

The NIH has said that while testing for levels of calcifediol is an important part of determining a patient's bone health, many assays that search for the vitamin are notoriously inaccurate.

Until recently, depending on the test used to measure calcifediol or the laboratory in which it is processed, assay results did not necessarily give an accurate picture of blood levels of vitamin D.

The makers of the ARCHITECT 25-OH Vitamin D assay intend for the test to be more accurate and cost effective than others like it.

Calcifediol is not vitamin D itself, but rather a prehormone molecule created in the liver using vitamin D3.

While the body naturally synthesizes some vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, it is important that individuals who are at risk for osteoporosis consume the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D.

The NIH suggests that adults consume between 15 and 20 micrograms of vitamin D each day in order to increase bone strength, reduce the risk of osteoporosis and improve bodily wellness.