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Diabetes isn’t “just high blood sugar,” and it’s nothing to toy with.
It’s a serious disease that can cause blindness, foot amputation, nerve damage and kidney problems, to name a few of the possible long-term effects.
And even though diabetes doesn’t just appear out of thin air, it can sneak up on you…
Approximately 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but have not crossed the threshold for diabetes yet.
Unfortunately, most people in this stage don’t know the warning signs of prediabetes, that it carries a serious threat for heart damage or that it’s a critical point for stopping the trajectory to type 2 diabetes.
Physicians will advise keeping weight, blood sugar and cholesterol levels healthy through diet and exercise to avoid prediabetes.
But if you still find yourself in prediabetes limbo, you could benefit from extra help — like taking a common vitamin found to slash the risk of progression to full-blown diabetes…
Vitamin D could save millions from a diabetes diagnosis
Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is best known for powerful immune support. Few of us realize it also has important roles in insulin secretion and glucose metabolism. In fact, previous research has associated low blood levels of vitamin D with a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Researchers from Tufts Medical Center conducted a review and meta-analysis (they combined the statistical results) of three clinical trials comparing the impact of vitamin D supplements on diabetes risk for adults with prediabetes.
Over a three-year follow-up period, they saw that supplementing vitamin D was associated with a 15 percent decreased likelihood for developing type 2 diabetes in adults with prediabetes.
Given the fact that more than 374 million adults worldwide have prediabetes, the authors used their findings to deduce that vitamin D supplementation could delay the development of diabetes in more than ten million people.
Vitamin D helps take down risk factors
If you know a little more about vitamin D’s association with other risk factors that are known to contribute to the development of diabetes, there’s no mystery about why D is the anti-diabetes vitamin…
Take obesity, considered one of the top risk factors. People who are low in vitamin D are also more likely to be obese. But worse, a study from Spain has shown that lacking vitamin D expands your chances of developing diabetes even more than being overweight.
Another study found that people with vitamin D blood levels of 50 ng/mL (considered adequate) were five times less likely to develop diabetes than those with 20ng/mL. The lead author of that study, Dr. Cedric Garland, believes rather than focusing solely on obesity and sugar and fat intake, we should be focusing on vitamin D levels.
Per the good folks at Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health, the RDA for vitamin D provides the daily amount needed to just maintain healthy bones and normal calcium metabolism in healthy people. That means 600 to 800 IU a day likely won’t turn prediabetes around.
The Institute of Medicine increased the upper limit of vitamin D to 4000 IU a day for adults, but other experts recommend a therapeutic daily dose of 5000 IU. Because of a growing body of research that’s finding vitamin D is not a one-size-fits-all vitamin, some have also suggested that dosage be based on BMI.
If you’re unsure what your vitamin D levels are, your doctor can test them. He’d also best know of any conditions or medications that could lower your levels or potential interactions.
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Vitamin D and Risk for Type 2 Diabetes in People With Prediabetes — Annals of Internal Medicine
Time out: should vitamin D dosing be based on patient’s body mass index (BMI): a prospective controlled study — Cambridge University Press