NMU 67 – Higher Blood Levels of Vitamin D Strongly Associated with Decreased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No. 67
with Dr. James Meschino
Research Topic: Higher Blood Levels of Vitamin D Strongly Associated with Decreased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Source: PLOS One Journal: June 2017
We all know that there is a growing epidemic of Type 2 diabetes in modern society, largely due to more people being overweight and having a more sedentary lifestyle. So, establishing a regular endurance exercise program and employing mindful eating (not overeating), as well as eating fewer sugary and starchy carbs and minimizing your intake of bad fats, are the first steps to preventing Type 2 diabetes. These strategies also help to improve Type 2 diabetes management. There are few supplements that have shown promise in helping to better control blood sugar as well, which include, for instance, cinnamon, chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, and catechins from green tea extract.
A very impressive study out of Australia, published on June 2, 2017, showed a strong correlation between higher blood vitamin D levels and reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. This is not the first time we have seen a study showing results like this. In this study, researchers analyzed data from almost 4,000 subjects, ages 18-75 yrs. in the Victoria Health Monitor Survey. The data analyzed included:
- Physical activity
- Dietary Practices
- Biomedical Information
- Blood Glucose
- Blood Glycolated Hemoglobin (Hb A1c)
- Blood Vitamin D
- Blood Triglycerides
- Blood Pressure
- Height and Weight Index (Body Mass Index)
- Waist Circumference
They also factored in socio-demographic factors, age, gender country of birth, smoking status, season (time of year) and Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage. After controlling for all these variables, what really stood out in this study was the fact that individuals who had higher blood levels of vitamin D showed a 39% lower fasting glucose (blood sugar) level and a 26% lower glycolated hemoglobin (Hb1Ac) reading.
This may be explained by the fact that vitamin D is required by the pancreas for insulin synthesis and secretion. Insulin is what enables blood sugar to be taken up into our cells and used for energy. As well, vitamin D helps the insulin receptors on our cells work more efficiently and vitamin D also reduces low-grade systemic inflammation. Low-grade systemic inflammation has been shown to precede the onset of Type 2 diabetes in at-risk individuals (overweight, sedentary, genetic predisposition).
In this study, individuals with blood levels of vitamin D in the highest measured range (64 – 204 nmol/L) showed these impressive results with respect to lower fasting blood sugar and glycolated hemoglobin levels. From all the research studies, I have seen over the past 35 years I personally feel that ensuring that your blood vitamin D level is in the range of 85 – 150 nmol/L is most optimal to help reduce risk of osteoporosis, many types of cancer, and very likely diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease to some degree.
I have included a link to the referenced research paper in the text below.
Pannu PK, Piers LS et al. Vitamin D status is inversely associated with markers of risk for type 2 diabetes: A population study in Victoria, Australia. PLOS One. June 2, 2017
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