Another health breakthrough to report in the vast arena of breakthroughs that surrounds vitamin D. The “sunshine vitamin.” A new study has found that not getting enough vitamin D can put you at greater risk for one of the biggest health problems of modern times: type 2 diabetes.
This study occurred in children, but the results can be extrapolated for everyone. Looking at obese and non-obese children, researchers found that low vitamin-D levels were significantly more prevalent in obese children. And that they were associated with risk factors for type 2 diabetes. The study appeared in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.”
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High rates of vitamin-D deficiency have been found in obese populations and past studies have linked low vitamin-D levels to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Those three health conditions — obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease — are certifiably linked.
How obesity and diabetes is related to vitamin-D deficiency is not fully understood. This new study examined associations between vitamin-D levels and dietary habits in obese children. They tested whether there were links between levels of the sunshine vitamin and abnormal blood sugar levels and/or blood pressure levels.
In the study, obese children with lower vitamin-D levels had the highest degree of insulin resistance. This is the hallmark of diabetes, meaning the body has an impaired ability to move glucose from the blood into cells where it is used as energy. The study couldn’t figure out why this is the case, but did suggest that low vitamin-D levels play some kind of role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Here’s what happened: they measured vitamin-D levels, blood sugar levels, insulin, body mass index, and blood pressure in 411 obese subjects and 87 control non-overweight subjects. Study participants were asked to provide dietary information, including daily intake of soda, juice and milk, average daily fruit and vegetable intake, and whether or not they routinely skipped breakfast.
Sure enough, they found that habits like skipping breakfast and drinking sugary soda and juice were linked with lower vitamin-D levels among the obese kids.
Vitamin D is simply critical. If you can’t spend 15 minutes of time in direct sunlight (without using sunscreen) each day, it is a very good idea to take a vitamin-D supplement in the range of 1,000 IU.