Vitamin D and Diabetes

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

Vitamin D, with the renowned sobriquet “sunshine vitamin”, plays a very important role in maintaining health of your bone, cholesterol and blood pressure. Furthermore, scientists, over the past year, have also unearthed an amazingly important effect that Vitamin D has on insulin, glucose, and it can be related to different endocrine diseases – particularly type 2 diabetes.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that you can absorb through particular foods or can be produced by your own body when you are exposed to the sun. When your bare skin makes contact with the sun’s ultraviolet-B, the body will turn a cholesterol derivative into Vitamin D. Scientists recently have discovered that a Vitamin D protein receptor is packed within practically all of the cells and tissues.

Absorbing too much Vitamin D – fat-soluble vitamins in general – can be unhealthy, but the lack of Vitamin D can lead to plentiful health problems. Specifically, there is, as mentioned above, a link between the shortage of Vitamin D and type 2 diabetes. This explains why the number of people who have type 2 diabetes in Western countries is always higher due to Vitamin D deficiency that results from many factors, one of which is the limited exposure to sunlight.

How to get Vitamin D?

You can stimulate your body to produce more Vitamin D by letting your bare skin make contact with the sunlight for around 15-20 minutes a day.

However, for some people, exposure to the sunlight does not have many effects on the body’s production of Vitamin D. Therefore, some other people may opt for Vitamin D supplementation.

Dietary intake can also be one of the helpful choices you can take, despite its weaker effectiveness than the other two. You can add foods that are rich in Vitamin D such as eggs, dairy, fatty fish, tofu.

Effects on diabetes

Insulin is known as a hormone that accounts for regulating blood sugar levels. Under the influence of Vitamin D, the body can improve its sensitivity to insulin, which helps decrease the risk of insulin resistance, which is likely to lead to type 2 diabetes.

This fat-soluble vitamin is, too, widely believed to contribute to regulating the production of insulin in pancreas.

The ideal levels of Vitamin D ought to be between 20-56 ng/ml. If the level is lower than 20 ng/ml, you are likely to experience Vitamin D deficiency.

Nevertheless, scientists have just found out that the amount of Vitamin D in the body, when increased to approximately 60-80 ng/ml, can put the blood glucose levels under control. This is exceptionally important for people with diabetes.

Other benefits

  • Weight loss. Many studies have unveiled that good vitamin D status can help decrease parathyroid hormone levels, which can enhance weight loss in the long-term and decrease the risk of obesity; this is the main risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
  • Healthy bones. Only with the presence of Vitamin D can bone strength and bone health such as phosphorous, calcium, minerals be absorbed.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: August 10, 2017 | Last Modified: December 19, 2019

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