Should I ask my doctor to test my vitamin levels?
Nope, you can skip the extra screenings. The latest science says that there's no need to do blood tests for B12, iron, calcium or even vitamin D unless you're experiencing symptoms of a deficiency or you have a condition, like celiac or inflammatory bowel disease, that predisposes you to one.
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Though there has been a lot of buzz in the past few years about the health effects of low vitamin D levels, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently reviewed the research and determined there's no evidence that regular screening is helpful. In fact, routine screening tests (say, to check blood counts) are no longer recommended for healthy women unless there are signs of a problem.
Instead of worrying about your vitamin levels, focus instead on eating a well-balanced diet full of nutritious whole foods like leafy greens, colorful produce, lean proteins and whole grains; these foods will get you all the vitamins you need. And be sure to touch base with your doctor regularly. Healthy women need to get a physical exam every five years in their 20s and 30s (along with a blood pressure check every two years). If you're over age 40, make an appointment every other year.
RELATED: 12 Ways to Get Your Daily Vitamin D
Health's medical editor, ROSHINI RAJAPAKSA, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and co-founder of Tula Skincare.
Meet Dr. Raj at the Health Total Wellness Weekend at Canyon Ranch in May 2015. For details, go to Health.com/TotalWellness.