At an annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) last week, researcher Anastassios Pittas, M.D. presented results from a study involving 2,039 patients with prediabetes. This was a 3 years study involving people with high blood sugar levels where their vitamin D levels were looked at in the beginning of the study, and then at 6-months, 1-year, 2-years, and 3-year followups.
The results of the study were quite impressive. While the data wasn’t conclusive in terms of proving cause and effect with the study, they did have some beneficial findings.
What they found was for every 5 ng/mL increase in vitamin D levels, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes dropped by 8%, with the normal vitamin D levels being 30 ng/mL and above.
The only thing that makes this data inconclusive, and not able to prove that vitamin D prevents diabetes, is the absence of a trial where patients were put into two groups. One group receiving placebo and the other group receiving vitamin D, head-to-head to see the results.
One key takeaway from this study is that people in the study with the highest vitamin D levels (average levels of 30 ng/dL), were less likely to develop diabetes that people with lower levels (average levels of 13 ng/mL).
Of the physicians that I have spoken to, they said that the majority of their patients are deficient in vitamin D as a result of low sunlight exposure from the long winter months. They recommend that their patients supplement it into their diet at a recommended dose of 1000 iu per day. Other doctors have recommended it in the liquid form at 400-500 iu twice per day, once in morning and once at night.
Vitamin D And Diabetes Explained
Vitamin D technically speaking, is a hormone rather than a vitamin and has been shown to increase the insulin sensitivity in the body, which can reduce insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a defect that type 2 diabetics and prediabetics have where the cells in their body are resistant to the effects of insulin. In addition to having favorable affects on diabetes, vitamin D has also been shown to have beneficial effects on the immune system, prevent cancer, lower risk to the flu, and prevent the risk to cardiovascular disease.
In addition to staple foods like milk and whole eggs, vitamin D can be found in fatty fish such as catfish, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and eel. It can also be found beef liver, cod liver oil, and mushrooms.
Prior to using any of this dietary advice or material, please consult with your physician.