Vitamin D Could Help Lower Risk of Diabetes
A study has found a link between increased intake of vitamin D and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The research claims that vitamin supplements could help to improve blood sugar control.
Bones, muscle and teeth
Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed for healthy bones, muscles and teeth. Without enough vitamin D, the body can’t absorb enough calcium into the bones and cells.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to conditions such as rickets and bone pain.
Vitamin D is found in some foods, including red meat, egg yolks, liver and oily fish. However, the main source of vitamin D comes from when the body creates the vitamin from sunlight on the skin.
In 2016, Public Health England issued new advice about vitamin D, recommending that adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement, particularly during autumn and winter.
Lower blood glucose
Now new research, published in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, has found a link between increased vitamin D intake and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
The study looked at 680 Brazilian women aged between 35 and 74 years. It found that taking vitamin D supplements was associated with lower blood glucose levels. The same association was found with regular exposure to the sun.
Type 2 diabetes
Diabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are too high. Type 2 diabetes is when insulin in the pancreas doesn’t work properly, or the pancreas can’t create enough insulin. This means blood glucose levels keep rising.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include feeling very tired, needing to urinate a lot, feeling thirsty, being prone to infections, and cuts taking a long time to heal. It can also lead to serious damage to the heart, eyes, feet and kidneys.
This study backs up other recent studies that have shown a link between vitamin D and glycaemic control. They have suggested that vitamin D increases insulin sensitivity and so improves the function of the pancreas.
JoAnn Pinkerton from the North American Menopause Society said: “Although a causal relationship has not been proven, low levels of vitamin D may play a significant role in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Vitamin D supplementation may help improve blood sugar control, but intervention studies are still needed.”
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