(NaturalNews) According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), almost 11 percent of Americans age 20 or older have diabetes. And the most common form of this disease, type 2 diabetes, has reached epidemic proportions. Now scientists have found a link between vitamin D deficiency and the inability of many patients with this kind of diabetes to keep their blood sugar under control. What's more, this raises the strong possibility that, along with being overweight and sedentary, a lack of vitamin D could be a major factor in triggering type 2 diabetes in the first place.
Esther Krug, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an endocrinologist at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, just presented this research in San Diego at the Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting. "This finding supports an active role of vitamin D in the development of Type 2 diabetes," Dr. Krug said in a statement to the media.
Krug and her research team reviewed the medical charts of 124 people between the ages of 36 and 89 years old who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and treated at an endocrine outpatient clinic between 2003 and 2008. As part of their health evaluations, all of these patients had their serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels measured at the clinic. So the researchers looked to see how many of the patients had normal levels of the so-called "sunshine" vitamin.
The answer? Almost none. In fact, an astonishing 91 percent of the patients studied had either vitamin D deficiency (defined as a level below 15 nanograms per deciliter, or ng/dL) or vitamin D insufficiency (15 to 31 ng/dL), the authors reported. When the investigators looked at the patients' levels of hemoglobin A1c (a measure of blood sugar control over the past several months), they came up with another startling fact. There was a clear relationship between uncontrolled blood sugar and low levels of vitamin D. African-Americans were found to have the highest A1c levels and were most deficient in vitamin D, when compared to Caucasians.
"Since primary care providers diagnose and treat most patients with type 2 diabetes, screening and vitamin D supplementation as part of routine primary care may improve health outcomes of this highly prevalent condition," Dr. Krug concluded.
NaturalNews has previously reported on other natural ways to treat and even prevent type 2 diabetes -- including eating Mediterranean style by consuming a diet rich in "good" fats (like Omega-3s and olive oil), veggies, fruit and whole grains. A study published last fall in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded the Mediterranean diet dramatically improved type 2 diabetes and even eliminated the need for many people to take blood glucose regulating medication (http://www.naturalnews.com/027140_diabetes_T...).