Vitamin D and Diabetes

Dr. Deepak Bhosle

Vitamin D and Diabetes

Dr. Deepak Bhosle – Diabetologist
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology), Diploma in Diabetology
Consultant Diabetologist
Deogiri Diabetes Centre, Aurangabad

Vitamin D and Diabetes

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is required in your body since it plays a number of important roles in the body, including maintaining the health of your bones, teeth and joints, kidney and liver functions, cardiovascular function and assisting immune system function. Latest research has shown that the amount of people that are vitamin D deficient have increased and more than half of the world population in the adult age group suffers from vitamin D deficiency.

Diabetes is a condition in which your body develops resistance to the role of insulin – the hormone responsible for regulating blood glucose level and it also impairs the function of the cells of pancreas where insulin is made.  In recent years, studies have shown that optimal levels of vitamin D in your body helps in the functioning of insulin which can significantly reduce the chances of you becoming diabetic. Vitamin D could have a direct role on the activation of cells of pancreas and other sensitive organs or indirectly by regulating calcium levels in the body which may have a positive effect on insulin secretion and sensitivity.

Vitamin D deficiency

Ideal levels of vitamin D should be between 20-56 ng/ml (50-140 nmol/l)*, with anything below 20 ng/ml considered deficient. Vitamin D deficiency can present as

  • Pain in your bones
  • Feeling of weakness in the muscles
  • A lowered and weakened immune system
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis or weak bones
  • Chronic fatigue or tiredness
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Adult onset or type 2 diabetes.

Effects on diabetes

Vitamin D helps in improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin so that it can carry out the role of enabling glucose to move from the blood and enter the cells where it is required for energy production. This action reduces the risk of you developing insulin resistance, which is often a precursor to diabetes. Studies have suggested that adequate vitamin D levels in your blood may also help in the regulation of the production of insulin in the pancreas. By raising the amount of vitamin D in our body to around 60-80 ng/ml, we can ensure that we have all the help we need to from Vitamin D to keep our blood glucose levels under control, which is vital for people with diabetes.

Other health benefits of keeping adequate Vitamin D levels

Besides assisting in glucose control, increasing levels of vitamin D can also:

Aid you in weight loss – Optimal vitamin D levels helps to promote weight loss and reduce risk of obesity, which is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Regulate your appetite – Vitamin D can increase the body’s levels of the hormone leptin, which controls body fat storage and triggers the sensation of satiety, giving the feeling of having eaten enough and thus lowering hunger levels.

Reducing belly fat – Higher levels of the hormone cortisol, a stress hormone produced in the adrenal glands in the blood can lead to increased abdominal (or visceral) fat, which is linked to various health conditions including diabetes. An increase in Vitamin D levels can help lower the levels of your cortisol.

Conclusion

  1. Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in glucose metabolism, and vitamin D deficiency may be associated with a range of serious diseases including diabetes.
  2. We can get our daily intake of vitamin D through dietary supplements and foods such as nuts, oily fish, eggs, powdered milk and some fortified cereals or through nutritional supplements.
  3. The necessary daily intake of vitamin D in the form of supplements has the effect of reducing our risk of diabetes.

 

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