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Annual Vitamin D Screenings are not Supported, U.S. Task Force Reports

Update Date: Nov 25, 2014 10:09 AM EST

Routine screenings for vitamin D levels are unsupported, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concluded. According to the agency, there is not enough evidence to suggest that screening is beneficial for people unless they have health conditions, such as bone, endocrine and autoimmune disorders.

After reviewing 16 trials and one case-control study that have been published regarding vitamin D, the authors headed by Michael LeFevre, MD, MSPH, from the University of Missouri, reported that since there is no exact threshold that defines vitamin D deficiency, screening for it might not be too helpful. The authors added that the link between low vitamin D levels and health problems is very unclear.

The researchers ad that their recommendations apply to asymptomatic, non-pregnant people aged 18 or older. For people with certain health problems, vitamin D screenings could be beneficial.

"Evidence on screening for vitamin D deficiency in asymptomatic adults to improve health outcomes is insufficient and that the balance of benefits and harms of screening and early intervention cannot be determined," the authors wrote according to Medpage Today. "Further research is needed to determine the cutpoint that defines vitamin D deficiency... More studies are also needed to evaluate which treatment regimens may benefit specific vitamin D-deficient populations, such as men and non-Caucasian ethnic groups, who are absent from the evidence base."

The report, "Screening for Vitamin D Deficiency: A Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force," was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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