Vitamin D and Medicare

By: | Posted in: Blog, Featured | Wednesday, Jun 24, 2020 - 4:21pm
Women Saying Wrong after after mystery medical bill for vitamin D

Is Vitamin D covered by Medicare?

Getting my yearly blood work gave me a shock as I was handed a mystery medical bill for my Vitamin D and my other blood work.

For my EU and Australia clients/readers this will not be the case for you. 
Medical in the US has it’s own language and labyrinth.

I am on Medicare and I naively thought my blood work would have been covered. Guess what?

Lady holding a Wrong sign. Is my Vitamin D covered by medicare? I am on Medicare and naively I thought my Vitamin D blood work would have been covered. Was I WRONG!

The phlebotomist (one who draws blood) at Quest Diagnostics informed me my total out-of-pocket would be over $1000 of which $244.00 was for the Vitamin D test.

The Vitamin D, Lipid Panel and TSH (thyroid tests) did not have an ICD code.

What is an ICD code?

An ICD code is The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is one of the most widely used classification systems for diagnosis coding as it allows comparability and use of mortality and morbidity data. I went back to my doctor for the proper coding and then back to Quest who told me the coding was still incorrect. Four phone calls to my doctors office woke me up to find an alternative solution.

My take away

When getting blood work, confirm there is a diagnosis code and an ICD code on the script. This will reduce mystery medical bills.

Being a problem solver, I wanted to share a potential solution. If you cannot get a Vitamin D test for whatever reason (or other blood tests), Life Extension maybe an alternative.

VITAMIN D TESTING using Life Extension.

1. Go to Life Extension and order the test.

Phone: 1 800 678-8989 – 7 days a week from 8AM-12AM ET.

2. Cost of the Vitamin D test is $47.00 (current sale $35.25) no script is necessary.

3. Life extension sends a requisition form depending on the state you’re in.

4. Bring form to LabCorp (they don’t have a contract with Quest).

5. Results: 5-7 business days from the time it’s drawn.

6. Life Extensions sends you the results via mail, email, fax or viewable online.

This is for residents of the US only.

Vitamin D

25(OH) D test reflects Vitamin D produced under the skin and has a half life of 15 days. 1,25 D is the active hormone and is not a good indication of Vit D status because it has a short half life of 15 hours.

The 25(OH)D is the test that we want because it tells a more complete story of the amount of Vitamin D circulating in our blood.

When should you test?

Sandi Fahlen Putnam who runs a local group in Arizona, Bone Girls Club, has her own extremely challenging and painful osteoporosis story. She turned her story around using bone medication. She is now fracture and medication free.

Regarding Vitamin D she writes:
“Testing at the end of summer and end of winter, (September and March) will allow you to capture the effect of summer sun, which may be minimal in many cases.”

Find Your Happy Zone

Dr Lani Simpson who authored – No Nonsense Sun Health Guide which focuses on Vitamin D, recommends 45 ng/ml US or 113 nmol UK.   It may take some time to get there and maintain your levels. Vitamin D plays a pivotal role, limiting withdrawals of calcium from the bone by enhancing calcium absorption from food in the intestines into the bloodstream [1]

Back to Sandi’s pearls of wisdom. “Most people benefit and can start with 2,000 IU of D3 per day.

After using the SAME DAILY amount for about 3 months, you can adjust your level by 10 points US or 25 points UK upward with an additional 1,000 IU of D3 per day for another 8-12 weeks.

You can settle into a routine testing of every year and/or maybe in timing with other annual blood work or your DXA.

Request your Vitamin D

It is not routine despite its value on all health concerns. And always ask if there is an additional charge when getting your blood work.

US and UK blood levels are the same BUT the tests and results reporting are in different measurement units. The US number multiplied by 2.5 gives you the UK equivalent.”

And if you are feeling resistance, it’s understandable. One step in front of the other.

I refer my clients to Dr. Keith McCormick for their bone consultation. Determining if bone loss is currently happening is key. We want to stop bone loss. Creating your “next steps” for your bones makes a difference. Dr. McComick can also order Vitamin D and other bone markers.

If you find this blog helpful, kindly share with anyone you know who has bones using the links below.

From my bones to yours,

Irma Jennings, INHC – Holistic Bone Coach

[1] Harvard Medical School – Osteoporosis A guide to prevent and treatment

My Covid Experience

By: | Posted in: Blog, Featured | Wednesday, Apr 15, 2020 - 2:07pm

It’s been awhile since our bones have connected.  I’ve been in the middle of my own covid-19 experience.  I’m missing our communication however, I needed to be in a place of stillness and quiet understanding my own relationship with Covid-19 and how my / our world will be reshaped.  We have all been touched by this virus in varying ways.

My physical health is fine. I had imposed a 2-week self-quarantined since my masked and gloved flight home from Florida on March 20th.

As a small business owner I applied for Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to pay my independent contractors, who are the bones of my business. They help me with filming my cooking videos, researching the latest in Food for Healthy Bones food science, keeping the back-end of my website running smoothly and supporting members of my Bones Tribe.  All efforts working together.


Osteoporosis Related Fracture Risk

By: | Posted in: Blog, Featured | Monday, Feb 17, 2020 - 7:57pm
Complete Blood Count

When I receive my yearly Complete Blood Count blood work, I look over the numbers with my doctor checking if anything is out of range. I didn’t consider blood work to be a measure for osteoporosis related risk factors.   However, in this two part series on Complete Blood Count (CBC) we learn from Dr. Keith McCormick’s experience, working with osteoporosis patients for decades, how a simple blood test can assess osteoporosis related fracture ricks.

Complete Blood Count allows a trained practitioner to assess osteoporosis related fracture risk.

Complete Blood Count (CBC) and fracture risk


Your Bloodwork and Ostseoporosis

By: | Posted in: Blog, Bone Health, Featured | Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 - 2:50pm
CBC Blood Work for Bone Health

Lab Testing: What Your Bloodwork, CBC,  Can Tell Us About Osteoporosis by Dr. Keith McCormick.

If you are familiar with my book, The Whole-Body Approach to Osteoporosis, you know how important lab tests are for assessing, managing, and improving bone health. Today I would like to talk about indices in the CBC (Complete Blood Count) and osteoporosis which provides valuable information about the skeleton.

CBC Blood Test for Bone Health

When we think about CBCs (I know…who but me sits around thinking about lab tests?) we think about testing for anemia, infections, and blood clotting issues. But CBCs can also tell us something about the quality and strength of bone. (more…)

Chocolate Almond Date Boney Treats

By: | Posted in: Blog, Featured | Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 - 6:05pm
Chocolate Date Almond Hemp Treats

There are many bone-loving foods that get a twinkle light shone on them at this holiday time of year and and my Chocolate Almond Date Boney Treats gets a real twinkle. As Skelly and I were making our holiday menu lists, and checking them twice, Skelly realized that the last month of the year can turn into a food free-for-all. 

Inroad to Building Stronger Bones

This can be especially helpful food information for those who are using nutrition as an inroad to building stronger bones.

These featured foods include nuts, root vegetables, leafy greens and fish (when they are of the wild variety) and many are likely to be found at one or more holiday gatherings including, possibly, your own festive meal table.  It’s good news to keep in mind, particularly if you are a person who does a lot of cooking, baking and entertaining during this time of year. (more…)

Resistance and Bone Health

By: | Posted in: Blog, Featured | Monday, Nov 18, 2019 - 6:31pm

Skelly and I were talking the other day, noting one of the many ways human beings are interesting; resistance and bone health came to mind.  When something is new or different, rather than running towards it, many times we put on the break, curious but with apprehension and a one-step-forward-two-steps back mentality. 

It moves us into varying spaces of resistance that can look like so many different things. Fear, ambivalence or procrastination all can be a bit dizzying.  And it can show up in all areas of life, including the area of bone loss.


The Body Breathes Us

By: | Posted in: Blog, Featured | Friday, Oct 11, 2019 - 6:05pm

There are times throughout the day when my Skelly holds her breath out of fear, fatigue or stress and that’s not good for bone health. There are many ways that we manipulate breath, from holding it or allowing it in/out on a shallow level to taking in tiny gulps when stressed.

“It’s amazing how many folks do not breathe into their lower lungs and belly,” said Dr. Thomas J. Francescott, ND, a naturopath who practices in New York’s upper Hudson Valley. “Breathing has the ability to help stress hormones, vagus nerve (runs from the brain through the face and thorax down to the abdomen, containing parasympathetic fibres) and general relaxation.  In terms of bone health, stress plays a big role in bone breakdown.  So simple techniques to oxygenate the tissues can help to build bones” 


Bone Turnover Markers – Their Role in Bone Health

By: | Posted in: Blog | Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 - 5:10pm
Bone Turnover Lecture.

This interview offered by Dr. Richard Eastell Director, The Mellanby Centre for Bone Research, Department of Oncology and Metabolism Faculity of Medicine, Dentistry and Health University of Sheffield, UK was presented by the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

Bone turnover markers.  What are they and who needs them?


Bone Quality – Trabecular Bone Score

By: | Posted in: Blog, Featured | Sunday, Aug 18, 2019 - 5:47pm

Bone Quality:

Since I started working in the field of bone health there is a common thread that drives a bigger question. 

Is the DXA test (which measures bone density) the only way to determine the overall health of your bones?

But what about bone quality?


Dr. Lani Simpson interviewed the researcher and developer of the Trabecular Bones Score TBS software, Dr. Didier Hans.

They discussed bone density testing, with a special focus on the TBS score.

The recording and notes are now available.


Holy Basil – Twice the Spice

By: | Posted in: Blog, Featured | Tuesday, Jul 16, 2019 - 10:08am
Holy Basil for your Bones

Holy Basil is twice the spice and benefits the body, inside and out.

While basil may conjure images of fresh pesto and caprese salad, holy basil (or, tulsi) swaps the spice cabinet for the medicine cabinet.