Vitamin D May Delay or Prevent Diabetes

January 12, 2009

A sufficient intake of vitamin D may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes, concluded research from Loyola University Chicago, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

A sufficient intake of vitamin D may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes, concluded research from Loyola University Chicago, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. The study, appearing in the latest issue of Diabetes Educator, said adequate intake may also reduce complications for those who have already been diagnosed with diabetes.

"Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases in particular," said study co-author, Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN. "This article further substantiates the role of this nutrient in the prevention and management of glucose intolerance and diabetes."

One study examined for the review article evaluated 3,000 people with type 1 diabetes and found a decreased risk in disease for people who took vitamin D supplements. Observational studies of people with type 2 diabetes also revealed that supplementation may be important in the prevention of this disease.

"Management of vitamin D deficiency may be a simple and cost-effective method to improve blood sugar control and prevent the serious complications associated with diabetes," said study co-author, Joanne Kouba, PhD, RD, LDN.

Diet alone may not be sufficient to manage vitamin D levels. A combination of adequate dietary intake of vitamin D, exposure to sunlight, and treatment with vitamin D2 or D3 supplements can decrease the risk of diabetes and related health concerns. The preferred range in the body is 30 - 60 ng/mL of 25(OH) vitamin D.

An estimated 23 million Americans with diabetes have low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency may also be associated with hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, hypertension and heart disease.

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