Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with kidney disease and Type 2 diabetics frequently have low levels of vitamin D. Diabetic nephropathy, or kidney disease, is one of the worst complications of diabetes.
Researchers at Alcorcon Hospital Foundation in Alcoron and other research centers in Spain designed and carried out a study to determine whether a vitamin D deficiency could promote worsening of diabetic nephropathy.
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Their study, reported on in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology in October 2013, included 103 participants with diabetic nephropathy:
- fifty-three people were found to have vitamin D deficiency.
after 32 weeks:
- 23 diabetics with vitamin D deficiency and
- 8 patients with normal levels of the vitamin
showed severe kidney damage.
From these results it was concluded a vitamin D deficiency was associated with worsening of diabetic kidney disease.
Earlier studies associated vitamin D deficiency with chronic kidney disease. Many small blood vessels go through the kidneys so the blood can be cleansed and the waste secreted as urine. Your kidneys secrete a substance called renin, which raises blood pressure when the pressure in your blood vessels becomes too low for blood to flow efficiently through your kidneys.
Vitamin D helps to lower renin levels, keeping blood pressure from going too high. High blood pressure can cause damage to your kidneys. It is possible low levels of vitamin D result in overly high levels of renin, which in turn could cause high blood pressure, damaging your kidneys as blood under too much pressure flows through them.
According to the Mayo Clinic the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is:
- 600 International Units (IU) per day for persons 1 to 70 years of age, and
- 800 IU for individuals over 70.
The Institute of Medicine recommends maintaining blood levels of 20ng/ml or 50 nmol/L of the vitamin. Exposure to sunlight without a sunscreen provides adequate amounts of vitamin D for most people. Those living at extremely high or low latitudes or who wear clothing covering most of their bodies could need vitamin D supplementation.
Vitamin D is found in mushrooms exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet lights and in fortified foods such as some brands of soy milk, orange juice, and cereal...
- 1 cup of multigrain Cheerios provides 90 IU of vitamin D.
- 1 cup of Kellogg's All Bran with extra fiber supplies over 100 IU, with only about 100 calories.
- 3/4 of a cup of General Mills' Wheaties supplies over 70 IU, at only about 100 calories.
- 1 cup of fortified soy milk, with 100 calories, supplies almost 100 IU.
- 1 cup of Dole's portobello mushrooms gives you 400 IU.
In view of the importance of good kidney health, Type 2 diabetics would do well to discuss their vitamin D intake and blood levels with their doctor.
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