Vitamin D and diabetes

Recent research is showing that this humble vitamin is not to be ignored. It is not only a vitamin but a hormone. Research is showing that it plays a very important role in a variety of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Inadequate blood levels of vitamin D have been linked to several health problems aside from rickets and type 1 diabetes, including other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, along with some rare but serious heart problems like cardiomyopathy. Beyond better bone health, stronger muscles and fewer fractures in adults, research also suggests vitamin D can reduce the risk of various cancers. A study of 1,179 postmenopausal women published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last year found that women who took calcium and 1,100 I.U. of vitamin D daily had 80% fewer cancers than women who took a placebo or calcium alone.

3 doctors I've spoken to have emphasized that it is crucial to check your vitamin D levels and get them up if they are low. Over-supplementing with Vitamin D can have negative effects since the body does not seem to have a self-regulating mechanism when Vitamin D is consumed orally. Conversely, relying on the sun for adequate Vitamin D is tricky, depending on how far away from the equator you live. If you need to measure your vitamin D levels, ask your physician. If he or she refuses, don't skimp on paying to see a nutritionist or naturopathic doctor (ND). They will almost certainly know how important it is.

  1. Vitamin D Lowers Diabetes Risk
    Giving children vitamin D supplements in infancy may shear their risk of developing type 1 diabetes later in life. In an analysis of previously published studies, British researchers found significant evidence that supplements of the vitamin were associated with a 29% reduced risk of the disease.

  2. Study links vitamin D, type 1 diabetes
    Sun exposure and vitamin D levels may play a strong role in risk of type 1 diabetes in children, according to new findings by researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. This association comes on the heels of similar research findings by this same group regarding vitamin D levels and several major cancers.

  3. Combined supplementation with vitamin D and calcium may improve blood sugar and insulin levels, suggests a new meta-analysis and review.
    "Evidence from trials with vitamin D and/or calcium supplementation suggests that combined vitamin D and calcium supplementation may have a role in the prevention of type-2 diabetes only in populations at high risk (i.e. glucose intolerance)," wrote the reviewers from Tufts-New England Medical Center.

  4. The Role of Vitamin D and Calcium in type 2 diabetes. A systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
    Vitamin D and calcium insufficiency may negatively influence glycemia while combined supplementation with both nutrients may be beneficial in optimizing glucose metabolism.

You might also be interested in reading about Vitamin D and Cancer here.