Vitamin D supplements might help stave off type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on March 29, 2013

Many OECD countries have seen a rise in hospital admissions for diabetes

Vitamin D supplements might help stave off type 2 diabetes

Vitamin D supplements can help overweight children and teenagers to control their blood sugar levels and thus may help them to avoid developing type 2 diabetes, according to researchers in the United States. A team at the University of Missouri studied 35 pre-diabetic obese children and adolescents who were undergoing treatment in its Adolescent Diabetic Obesity Programme and had insufficient or deficient vitamin D levels. They all had similar diets and activity levels.

They were randomly given either a high dose vitamin D supplement or a placebo which was taken daily over a six month period. Those who took the supplement became vitamin D sufficient and lowered the amount of insulin in their blood.

‘By increasing vitamin D intake alone, we got a response that was nearly as powerful as what we have seen using a prescription drug,’ said Catherine Peterson, an associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the university. ‘We saw a decrease in insulin levels, which means better glucose control, despite no changes in body weight, dietary intake or physical activity,’ she added.

However, the treatment is not suitable for everyone. ‘The vitamin D dosage we gave to the obese adolescents in our study is not something I would recommend for everyone. For clinicians, the main message from this research is to check the vitamin D status of their obese patients, because they’re likely to have insufficient amounts. Adding vitamin D supplements to their diets may be an effective addition to treating obesity and its associated insulin resistance,’ explained Peterson.

Quote from : “A while back I read on a different forum about Vitamin D definancy with diabetics and that it would be helpful to supplement.”

Vitamin D helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and nerves and enters bodies through sunlight exposure, diet or supplements. Vitamin D insufficiency is common, however, it can be more detrimental to those who are obese, Peterson pointed out. ‘What makes vitamin D insufficiency different in obese individuals is that they process vitamin D about half as efficiently as normal weight people. The vitamin gets stored in their fat tissues, which keeps it from being processed. This means obese individuals need to take in about twice as much vitamin D as their lean peers to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D,’ she said.

The research concluded that adding vitamin D supplements is a natural, inexpensive way to help obese children and teenagers decrease their odds of developing diabetes and avoid the side effects that might come from taking prescriptions to control their blood sugar.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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