WASHINGTON - Adequate vitamin D intake may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and reduce complications for those who have already been diagnosed with the condition.
The vitamin is quickly becoming a popular nutrient which has been found to be beneficial in conditions like cancer, osteoporosis and now diabetes.
Vitamin D deficiency also may be associated with hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, hypertension and heart disease.
‘Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases in particular,’ said Sue Penckofer, co-author of a new study on the subject and professor, Loyola University Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.
Penckofer had recently published another study in Circulation that reported on the role of chronic vitamin D deficiency in heart disease.
Many of the 23 million Americans with diabetes have low vitamin D levels. Evidence suggests that vitamin D plays an integral role in insulin sensitivity and secretion.
Vitamin D deficiency results in part from poor nutrition, which is one of the most challenging issues for people with diabetes. Another culprit is reduced exposure to sunlight, which is common during cold weather months when days are shorter and more time is spent indoors.
One study examined for this 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 Joanne Kouba, study co-author and clinical assistant professor of dietetics, Marcella Niehoff School.
‘People at risk for diabetes should be screened for low vitamin D levels,’ said Mary Ann Emanuele, study co-author and professor of medicine, division of endocrinology and metabolism at Loyola University, said its press release.
These findings appeared in the latest issue of Diabetes Educator.