Diabetic patients are frequently found to lack vitamin D. Vitamin D undergoes conversion in the liver and kidneys before it becomes an active hormone in the body. Diabetic's often have enzymatic changes compromising the activation of vitamin D to its body ready active form.
Investigators at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, USA, set out to discover whether vitamin D and calcium supplementation (vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, which helps to stave off osteoporosis) could be effective in preventing Type 2 diabetes. Results of their study were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in July 2011.
Ninety-two obese individuals with an average age of 57 and without a diabetes diagnosis, were enrolled in the study and supplemented with either vitamin D or calcium. After 16 weeks of supplementation with either:
- 2000 International Units (IU) of cholecalciferol (vitamin D), or
- 400 mg twice a day with calcium carbonate,
the group taking the vitamin D supplementation showed improvement in their pancreatic beta cells and increased secretion of insulin. The participants supplemented with calcium showed no improvement.
Both groups had a slight increase in their hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, showing they were in danger of acquiring Type 2 diabetes. Participants supplemented with vitamin D had a slightly lower increase in their HbA1c than did those without vitamin D supplementation.
Being both over 50 and overweight or obese are definite risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. Although it does not appear to be a magic bullet for preventing diabetes, having a high enough intake of vitamin D could help to retard progression to this disease.
The US Department of Agriculture recommends a daily intake of:
- 600 IU for vitamin D for people between the ages of 1 and 70,
- infants should get 400 IU and those over 70 should get 800 units.
To find out if your body is taking in adequate amounts of vitamin D, you can ask you doctor to order a blood test:
- your blood should have >30 ng/mL or >75 nmol/L of vitamin D,
- females are often recommended to make sure their blood levels are above 60 ng/mL year round, not just during summer because doing also protects you to some degree from breast cancer.
While most people with Type 2 diabetes, and often people in general, are tested with a simple blood test, they come up low on vitamin D.
Some of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- muscle aches,
- muscle weakness,
- fatigue, and
- bone pain.
If your level is low, the most inexpensive way to get more of the vitamin is to allow your skin to make it from sunlight. Exposing your face and hands to sunlight without sunblock for 15 to 20 minutes three times per week can be helpful if you are not susceptible to sunburn or skin cancer. Some dermatologists recommend using sunblock every time you go outside to prevent skin cancer, so consult your family doctor or dermatologist.
Supplements are also available, and vegans can get yeast-derived vitamin D, which is listed as ergocalciferol. Mushrooms exposed to some sunlight can contain vitamin D, and cereals and orange juice are sometimes enriched with the vitamin.
Although taking in an adequate supply of vitamin D is likely to be somewhat helpful, it is far from a magic bullet to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Normalizing weight and getting adequate exercise are still really important.
Normal weight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of between 18.5 and 24.9. To calculate your body weight, visit the National Heart and Blood Institute's website with your height and weight. If it is normal, be sure to keep it there. If it is 25 or more, it is time to do something about it...
- one pound of human fat has 3500 calories, so if you eat 7000 calories less than what is required to stay the same weight, you will lose 2 pounds (1 kg) per week.
Physical activity not only helps to burn fat but helps the body to utilize insulin better. If you are in good health, begin working out for an hour three times per week and take a walk every day in between. Here's to preventing Type 2 diabetes.
To discover answers to questions you may be asking yourself about Type 2 Diabetes, click on this link... Natural Diabetes Treatments
Clicking on this link will help you to learn more about Type 2 Diabetes Solutions ... Beverleigh Piepers RN... the Diabetes Detective.
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