Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Word of Caution: Inaccurate Vitamin D tests at Quest Diagnostics Labs

If you are like most diagnosed Celiacs, you've had your nutrient levels checked via a blood test. If you have had your Vitamin D levels checked within the last 2 years at a Quest Diagnostics Lab then you may want to keep reading. I think they may have been too busy counting the $5 Billion in sales they had over the first nine months of 2008.

The company (the nation's largest medical lab) has acknowledged that their Vitamin D tests have been inaccurate. The consequences are..
An erroneously high result might mean patients would not take vitamin D supplements when perhaps they should, doctors said. And an erroneously low test result might lead in rare instances to a toxic overdose of vitamin D. When the Quest tests have been inaccurate, the reading has typically been too high, although not in all cases.
Quest blames an increase in demand for the test (while at the same time switching to a new testing method), using sophisticated equipment, using faulty equipment, and the fact that many of their labs did not following proper procedures for the errors. Did they get any tests right? Who knows.
Dr. Wael A. Salameh, the medical director for endocrinology at Quest’s most sophisticated laboratory, said the inaccurate results represented fewer than 10 percent of all the vitamin D tests done by the Quest from early 2007 to mid 2008.
I myself have had my Vitamin D levels taken and they were found to be low. I was then diagnosed with Osteopenia after having a bone density scan. My test was conducted at LabCorp though. If you are like me but have not been taking high doses of Vitamin D daily to up your levels after going Gluten Free, then your bone problems could be getting worse.

Like we need anything else to worry about! It's good to know that the FDA has decided NOT to regulate these diagnostic tests either. What do they actually do?
Meanwhile the F.D.A. is considering increasing its role in regulating diagnostic tests. Right now test kits sold to labs, hospitals and doctor’s offices have to be approved by the agency. But tests developed and offered by a single laboratory, like the Quest vitamin D test, do not.
See the following NY Times article for more information.

Click here for Quest Diagnostics Web site.

See below for Raleigh locations...
Raleigh-West 3200 Blue Ridge Rd Suite 200
Raleigh-Northeast 11001 Durant Rd
Raleigh-Northwest 8300 Health park Suite 223
Cary 530 New Waverly Place


Anonymous said...

My doctor prescribed 6000IUs of vitamin D3 IN OIL GELCAP FORM (for example, 3 Carlson 2000IU oil gel caps) per day, and stressed that it must be the oil gel cap form, NOT the tablet or powder capsule form. I had been taking vitamin D3 and calcium combined (actually more than the recommended dose!) for 2 years before, without any effect on my low vitamin D levels. Apparently, the D is not absorbed well (or possibly at all!) unless you take the OIL form. I buy mine in Vitamin Shoppe as I couldn't find the oil gel cap form in my local grocery store.

I hope this helps someone!

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