Scientists have announced they will unveil a more accurate set of standards for measuring vitamin D levels in blood later this year.
This comes on the heels of recent studies that have found many Americans are not getting enough vitamin D and are thus exposed to a range of debilitating conditions.
In addition to maintaining bone strength by facilitating calcium absorption, vitamin D promotes overall health, and its deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
However, despite concerns about adequate vitamin D intake, there is neither a standard laboratory test for measuring vitamin D levels in humans nor universal agreement on what the optimal vitamin D level should be.
Dr Mary Bedner, an analytical chemist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) points out that "[r]ight now, you can send a blood sample to two different labs and get completely different results for vitamin D."
That is why NIST has been leading efforts to develop a standard for measuring vitamin D in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements.
The result of their work that will be unveiled to the public later this year could lead to better prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, rickets and other bone diseases.