Recently, vitamin D has become an essential complementary tool to help strengthen our defenses and make up, on many occasions, for the lack of sunshine in the winter and to support our health in different ways. In practice, we no longer refer to it as only a vitamin or micronutrient – it is a hormone, intervening in almost every organ and system. And research continues to show we still have much to learn about vitamin D, especially in relation to an issue ailing many Americans: diabetes.

The results of a meta-analysis conducted in China and published in 2019 show that vitamin D supplementation acts on glucose metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes, helping to control the glycemic index. From a total of 19 studies that were considered, with a total of 747 participants, it was shown that vitamin D helps to decrease hemoglobin A1c, insulin resistance, and insulin in the short term. (1)

In fact, several epidemiological and interventional studies show a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased likelihood of developing insulin resistance, decreased insulin secretion, and type 2 diabetes. This suggests low levels of this vitamin in the body could be considered a risk factor for both diabetes and metabolic syndrome. According to another study conducted in Germany, the focus should be on people suffering from vitamin D deficiency, since leveling that not only improves glucose metabolism but also decreases the risk of mortality. (2)

A 2017 study conducted in England also showed that vitamin D deficiency is related to diabetes (3). According to this one, vitamin D has an important role in the process of insulin release by pancreatic beta cells. These cells can slow down insulin resistance but, when overworked, they rapidly deteriorate and die. What role does vitamin D play in all this? Let’s look:

  • Vitamin D reduces inflammation, which helps fight insulin resistance.

  • Maintains beta cells in good condition.

  • Avoids genetic alterations related to diabetes.

  • Intervenes in various processes at the cellular level which, when otherwise unaffected, can lead to the development of diseases such as diabetes.

How do we know if we have a vitamin D deficiency?

Although there are symptoms at the bone health level such as muscle or bone pain and weakness that provide an indication of vitamin D deficiency, the real way to check is to talk to your doctor to administer a laboratory test for 25-hydroxy vitamin D. Generally, a level of 40 to 60 ng/ml is considered normal. (2)

We must not forget that vitamin D is also considered an essential micronutrient that keeps the body strong enough to counteract the effects of respiratory infections like coronavirus. Even hospitalized COVID-19 patients respond better when subjected to vitamin D supplementation. Their symptoms are also less severe, they remain hospitalized for less time, and there is a lower incidence of death (4). Vitamin D has been shown to improve cardiovascular health as well (5). These vitamin D benefits are all related to our ability to respond to disease in general.

Without a doubt, knowing the importance of this vitamin and hormone in the way glucose is processed within the body is just another excellent reason for us to ensure we have enough of it. We can’t allow our health to fail us on any count.

Let's keep getting healthier, together.


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