Adequate intake of vitamin D can prevent diabetes

Washington, January 13: Diabetes can be prevented, and the disease's complications for those diagnosed with it reduced, through adequate intake of vitamin D, says a report.

The review article by researchers from Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing appears in the latest issue of Diabetes Educator.

"Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases in particular. This article further substantiates the role of this nutrient in the prevention and management of glucose intolerance and diabetes," said Sue Penckofer, Ph.D., R.N., study co-author and professor, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

The report's authors revealed that one of the studies they reviewed evaluated 3,000 people with type 1 diabetes, and found a decreased risk in disease for people who took vitamin D supplements.

They further said that observational studies of people with type 2 diabetes also revealed that supplementation might 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, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., study co-author and clinical assistant professor of dietetics, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

According to the researchers, diet alone might not be sufficient to manage vitamin D levels, and that a combination of adequate dietary intake of vitamin D, exposure to sunlight and treatment with vitamin D2 or D3 supplements could 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, they say.

"People at risk for diabetes should be screened for low vitamin D levels. This will allow health care professionals to identify a nutrient deficiency early on and intervene to improve the long term health of these individuals," said Mary Ann Emanuele, M.D., F.A.C.P., study co-author and professor of medicine, division of endocrinology and metabolism, Loyola University Health System.

The reviewers have noted in their report that vitamin D deficiency might also be associated with hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, hypertension, and heart disease.

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