Vitamin D: 24 ng/mL

What does a vitamin D level of 24 mean? Are there any symptoms associated with this vitamin D level?

A vitamin D level of 24 ng/mL is considered low. Low levels of vitamin D can occur from prolonged, inadequate intake through diet, limited exposure to sunlight, poor kidney function resulting in impaired conversion of 25(OH)D, or inadequate vitamin D absorption. 
Low vitamin D can negatively affect your health and put you at increased risk for, and severity of COVID-19, diabetes, and some cancers. Having low levels of vitamin D may also increase your risk for certain autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.  

Factors that could contribute to a vitamin D level of 24

  • Low vitamin D intake
  • Older age (partly due to a decline in the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D with age)
  • Dark complexion
  • Living in cold or northern climates (people who live above 37°N latitude cannot synthesize vitamin D year-round)
  • Limited sun exposure (such as those who spend the majority of their time indoors or are covered when outside)
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Cystic fibrosis, Crohn's, celiac, kidney, and liver disease, or other conditions that interfere with vitamin D absorption or synthesis 
  • Obesity (greater amounts of subcutaneous fat sequester more of the vitamin)
  • Gastric bypass surgery

What to do if your vitamin D level is 24?

To improve vitamin D levels:
  • Increase consumption of vitamin D-rich foods like salmon, herring, canned tuna, eggs (with the yolk), and fortified foods like milk, yogurt, and breakfast cereals
  • Get 10–30 minutes of unprotected midday sunlight most days
  • Take a vitamin D supplement. How much you should take depends on your level of deficiency. For a level of 24, you will likely need to take 5,000 IU daily for several months to significantly improve your vitamin D status. 
  • If levels do not improve after 3 months, review your supplements with an expert or talk to your doctor. 

Supplements used to improve vitamin D test results

If you are vitamin D deficient, a daily supplement is typically needed to get levels into the optimal range (40-80 ng/mL) over time. 
For levels of 24 ng/mL, talk to your healthcare provider. Daily supplementation of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) should be considered to achieve adequate body stores of vitamin D.

References

  1. National Institutes of Health. (2021, March 26). Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin D. National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  2. Alshahrani, F., & Aljohani, N. (2013). Vitamin D: deficiency, sufficiency, and toxicity. Nutrients, 5(9), 3605–3616. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5093605
  3. Holick M. F. (2009). Vitamin D status: measurement, interpretation, and clinical application. Annals of epidemiology, 19(2), 73–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2007.12.001
  4. Demir, M., Demir, F., & Aygun, H. (2021). Vitamin D deficiency is associated with COVID-19 positivity and severity of the disease. Journal of medical virology, 93(5), 2992–2999. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.26832
  5. Kayaniyil, S., Vieth, R., Retnakaran, R., Knight, J. A., Qi, Y., Gerstein, H. C., Perkins, B. A., Harris, S. B., Zinman, B., & Hanley, A. J. (2010). Association of vitamin D with insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction in subjects at risk for type 2 diabetes. Diabetes care, 33(6), 1379–1381. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc09-2321
  6. Examine.com. (2019, April). A D-fence against cancer? https://examine.com/members/deep-dives/article/a-d-fence-against-cancer/
  7. Yang, C. Y., Leung, P. S., Adamopoulos, I. E., & Gershwin, M. E. (2013). The implication of vitamin D and autoimmunity: a comprehensive review. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology, 45(2), 217–226. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12016-013-8361-3