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Vitamin D and Diabetes: A Boon for the Body

Vitamin D and Diabetes: A Boon for the Body

From cancer, heart issues, and diabetes to a multitude of issues, vitamin D or the ‘sunshine vitamin’ has been proven to be beneficial. Vitamin D is known for absorbing calcium. However, the superstar vitamin is being also known to increase the production of insulin. As is known to all, diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2 is majorly caused due to the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin which regulates the glucose level in the body. As a result, blood sugar levels go up. Vitamin D comes into play here by regulating insulin production in the body. Vitamin D and diabetes are quite inextricably related.

What is the role of the superstar vitamin D in the body?

Studies have proved how beneficial is the relationship between vitamin D and diabetes. This vitamin is essential in the production of insulin in the body. The insulin is instrumental in the regulation of glucose which further transfers energy to the blood cells.

The presence of vitamin D in the body is extremely beneficial, while the deficiency of it can cause various issues. Studies have reported that deficiency of vitamin D is linked to the onset and progression of diabetes mellitus.

Studies have proved that exposure of around 15-20 minutes to the sun each day, which by the way is the richest source of acquiring vitamin D, is the best way to increase the production of the vitamin in your body. This reduces the risk of diabetes and many other issues.

While sun exposure is the best way to get your dose of vitamin D every day, there are other supplements as well which are best taken with medical advice. In food, eggs, fish, powdered milk, fortified cereals, nuts, and more are good sources of vitamin D.

On the other hand, the deficiency of vitamin D can lead to multiple issues in the body, such as muscle weakness, bone pain, weak immune system, and more. It also leads to long-term issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Thus, vitamin D and diabetes are indeed linked, as a deficiency of the former is active in the occurrence of the latter in your body.

Read More : Glucose Tolerance Test: Why and How is it Done?

Role of vitamin D in diabetes: How are the two actively linked?

We have established that vitamin D is extremely important to the body. The presence of it ensures that your body functions in a healthy manner. Also, the deficiency of it leads to many short-term as well as long-term health issues including diabetes.

Various research and studies have found that vitamin D and diabetes are linked. A low level of vitamin D causes insulin resistance, i.e. a condition wherein the body starts resisting insulin, thus resulting in high levels of blood sugar and subsequently diabetes. Vitamin D is known to keep the beta cells in the pancreas healthy. The beta cells in the pancreas are known for secreting the insulin hormone. Thus, it is extremely important that they remain in perfect health, or else it will lead to high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes.

Here’s where vitamin D enters the equation. This vitamin is known to actively enter the beta cells and interact with all the receptors that are known to bind together and produce insulin. In a diabetic person, the body tries to destroy the beta cells, thus creating insulin resistance. This often requires an external intake of insulin via injections. Adequate levels of vitamin D in the body, on the other hand, interfere with this destruction of cells and help increase insulin secretion.

Vitamin D is required by the body to absorb calcium, which strengthens the bones. Calcium, on the other hand, has a small but essential role to play in insulin secretion. Vitamin D deficiency obviously results in low calcium levels. This further damages body’s insulin-secreting capabilities.

Read More : Glucose Challenge Test: Why and How is it Done?

Vitamin D and diabetes type 1

Let’s first discuss the relationship between vitamin D and type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes usually happens in children and young adults and is more serious than type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is usually caused by inherent or genetic autoimmune conditions which induce the immune system to attack the system, pancreas in particular, thus hampering its function of insulin secretion. So, how does vitamin D act as a modulator in the case of type 1 diabetes?

Well, studies have confirmed that there are chances of a subsequent reduction in type 1 diabetes with continuous vitamin D intake over the years. However, the usage of vitamin D supplements during pregnancy may not reduce the chances of diabetes being passed on to the offspring.

Read More : Diabetes Mellitus Type 1: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Vitamin D and diabetes type 2

Type 2 diabetes, contrary to type 1 diabetes, is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, obesity, lack of workout, age, and many such factors that affect the body with time. Even though it is harmful, it is still a manageable condition and less serious than type 1 diabetes. The relationship between vitamin D and diabetes plays an important role here as well, majorly because vitamin D negates the risk factors that cause type 2 diabetes. Take a look.

  • Vitamin D is known to reduce belly fat. It reduces the level of cortisol, which is a stress hormone produced in the adrenal gland. Higher levels of this stress hormone in the body often lead to the accumulation of belly fat which is one of the factors that trigger type 2 diabetes.
  • Vitamin D helps reduce the level of parathyroid hormone in the body. This in turn improves metabolism, promotes weight loss, and reduces obesity in the long run.
  • Vitamin D is also helpful in regulating your daily diet. It lowers hunger levels by controlling fat storage.

As can be seen, vitamin D helps reduce the risk factors that initiate type 2 diabetes.

Read More : Diabetes Mellitus Type 2: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Which type of vitamin D should you look for?

Vitamin D is of two types: Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Look at which vitamin D supplement you are buying. This becomes easier when you understand the difference between the two.

Vitamin D2 – This one is a synthetic version with a short shelf life.

Vitamin D3 – This is the original vitamin D that you absorb via the sun rays, and is known to be three times more effective than D2.

Vitamin D2 is quite inferior as compared to vitamin D3.

Be wary of certain terms when you are buying vitamin D supplements. For instance, the products which have a ‘good source of vitamin D’ on the packaging are mostly comprising vitamin D2.

Is vitamin D the only and most reliable source of controlling diabetes? Yes and no. While multiple studies have shown a positive impact of vitamin D intake, they have also proved that the results are quite slow and may not be that effective on diabetes. Also, there are other factors equally important for managing diabetes. However, vitamin D is anyway essential to your existence. The best it does is keep your body healthy, and we all know how well it affects diabetes. Vitamin D and diabetes are indeed linked, but that link is strengthened by the overall health benefits of the nutrient.

Do you know of any other secret relationship between the superstar vitamin and diabetes, or any other benefit that we may have skipped? Do let us know in the comments below.

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

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

Sources

Role of Vitamin D in Diabetes / https://www.jofem.org/index.php/jofem/article/view/23/32 / Accessed on 21/05/2020

Vitamin D and Diabetes / https://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/vitamin-d.html / Accessed on 21/05/2020

Vitamin D and Diabetes / https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/24/2/113 / Accessed on 21/05/2020

Role of vitamin D in diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease / https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4781904/ Accessed on 03/06/2020

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Written by Nikita Updated 03/09/2021
Medically reviewed by डॉ. स्नेहल सिंह