Can Vitamin D Deflect Diabetes?
Keeping blood vitamin D levels in the normal range--between 30 and 74 ng/mL--may help reduce your risk
Vitamin D is the only vitamin our bodies can make--when our skin is exposed to sunlight of sufficient strength--and it plays many roles in bodily functions, from hormone to cell growth regulator. Now health experts have uncovered evidence of another important task vitamin D may perform: diabetes prevention.
Examining D, tracking diabetes
To examine potential connections between vitamin D and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers collected blood samples from 961 adult volunteers and analyzed them for vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) levels. Study participants completed oral glucose tolerance tests and had blood levels of hemoglobin A1c measured multiple times during follow up; both of these tests can be used to diagnose diabetes.
After five years, the study authors noted that:
This study suggests that keeping blood vitamin D levels in the normal range--between 30 and 74 ng/mL--may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes. However, this type of study is observational, and cannot prove cause and effect. Further, the number of people who ultimately developed type 2 diabetes in this study was small, which makes it harder to know for certain that these two factors are truly connected to one another.
Even so, the results suggest that vitamin D may be an important part of a diabetes prevention plan. Use our tips to help keep type 2 diabetes at bay.
(Clin Nutr 2012, In press; doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2011.12.001)
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.