The National Osteoporosis Society has launched updated practical clinical guidelines on vitamin D to provide clarity for healthcare professionals at its national biennial conference, Osteoporosis 2018.

The two sets of guidelines for adults and young people are designed to support healthcare professionals’ decision-making around testing for deficiency and supplementing with vitamin D.

The changes include:

  • Clarity on which patients to test for vitamin D deficiency
  • Guidance on which patients to treat for vitamin D deficiency
  • Updated information on toxicity levels.

The guidelines have been developed by an expert clinical and scientific board in line with new evidence including the publication of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) Report on Vitamin D and Health 2016, supplemented by the identification of papers published subsequently.

Alison Doyle, Clinical Director for the National Osteoporosis Society, said: “We want healthcare professionals to feel more confident about treating the right patients with the right amount of vitamin D at the right time. We know that there is confusion among clinicians, and with so much emphasis on vitamin D by various bodies, it’s the National Osteoporosis Society’s role to ensure that we offer clarity and clinical evidence to those who treat people with, or at risk of, poor bone health.

“These updated guidelines give clear details about measuring plasma levels to clarify whether someone is deficient in vitamin D, giving healthcare professionals the guidance to know when, and importantly if to test. They also give reassurance about toxicity levels, to allow healthcare professionals to feel confident when making treatment decisions.”

The new publications could potentially mean a reduction in the number of supplements prescribed as they provide clarity on the correct patients to target, and the clear guidance supports GP decision-making around ordering blood tests. The updated pragmatic advice on vitamin D toxicity also clears up confusion and busts some myths.

The adult guidelines include a pull-out, one-page quick reference guide covering which patients to test, how to interpret results, how to treat and follow-ups.

Both updated guidelines are available to download in the charity's Tools & Resources section.