Sunday, February 6, 2011

Supplementing with vitamin D helps regulate blood sugars

Your body is amazingly complex with compounds like vitamins have all sorts of effects that aren't obvious. For example did you know that low vitamin D status is associated with "impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes". Thus a paper investigated supplementing diabetic patients with either vitamin D, or vitamin D + calcium. They hide these supplements in yogurt and had a control group that just consumed the yogurt. The vitamin D supplement was 500 IU, calcium was 250mg. These yogurts were consumed twice a day for 12 weeks. Therefore total vitamin D supplementation was 1000 IU a day. This is a high level of vitamin D supplementation.

There were no difference between the vitamin D, and vitamin D + calcium groups. However there were a number of improvements of these two groups compared to the placebo group.
  • Significant increase in blood vitamin D levels   
  • Fasting serum glucose levels were reduced. High fasting blood sugar levels is one of the indicators of type two diabetes. It is this high blood sugar levels which damages the eye, kidneys, heart and nerve systems. Thus reducing the blood sugar level would decrease the problems associated with type two diabetes 
  • Hemoglobin when exposed to the glucose in the blood binds to the glucose forming glycated hemoglobin ( Hb A1c).Thus long term trends / levels of glucose in the blood can be determined by the level of glycated hemoglobin. The vitamin D groups had a significantly lower glycated hemoglobin thus showing over the long term vitamin D reduced blood sugars.
  • Insulin resistance decreased (as measured by HOMA-IR)   
  • Waist circumference and body mass index decreased. This is fascinating as the energy intake wouldn't have changed. Thus by changing nutritional status, in this case increasing vitamin D levels, the body naturally shed weight. I have heard a number of anecdotal stories about people loosing weight when put on a optimal daily allowance (ODA) vitamin. Remember that in this study they were taking 1 000 IU of vitamin D a day. Here in NZ the RDI is only 200 IU a day.
So we can conclude that vitamin D supplementation is an excellent move for people with type two diabetes. The question I know wonder is, would 1 000 IU of vitamin D help prevent type two diabetes?!   

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