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.
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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.