(Natural News) The connection between high sugar consumption and type 2 diabetes is clearly established, but there’s a more surprising nutritional factor that everyone should know about that can also play a role in the development of the disease.
Researchers from the University of Toronto discovered that people who are lacking in vitamin D3 are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. They first noticed this relationship while looking at patients with gum disease, which is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes and can be caused by high levels of blood sugar.
The researchers theorized that because vitamin D can help lower antimicrobial activity and inflammation, it could have an effect on gum health. They analyzed data taken from more than 1,600 adults aged 30 and above, including their vitamin D levels, insulin measures, and fasting glucose.
They found a significant association between low levels of vitamin D and type 2 diabetes, not only among those with gum disease but in the general population as well.
Study author Aleksandra Zuk said that she believes further studies should be carried out in other populations as the findings could have an effect on diabetes research and prevention. Their findings were published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care.
This finding is supported by another study that was published in the journal PLOS One. In that study, researchers looked at more than 900 healthy adults who had no signs of diabetes at the study’s inception and followed them over the course of 10 years. Throughout the study, patients’ vitamin D levels, fasting glucose, and oral glucose tolerance were measured.
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They discovered that participants whose blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were higher than 30 ng/ml had a one third lower risk of diabetes, while those whose levels were higher than 50 ng/ml had just one fifth the risk of developing the disease.
According to the study’s authors, people whose vitamin D levels are lower than 30 ng/ml are considered deficient; those with such levels have a five times greater risk of developing diabetes than those with levels higher than 50 ng/ml.
While that study’s authors said that their findings indicate a strong association between vitamin D and type 2 diabetes prevention, they would like to see further research carried out.
How much vitamin D is ideal?
Not surprisingly, their findings show that the current recommended daily average vitamin D intake of 600 IU for adults is far too low. They said that in order to reach the 30 ng/ml mark – which is just above deficiency level – people need supplements of somewhere between 3000 and 5000 IU per day, or less depending on the amount of sun exposure they get.
That’s because exposure to sunlight tells your body to produce vitamin D3. This is the best way to get it, and it’s as simple as heading outdoors with some skin exposed while the sun is shining. The precise amount of time you’ll need varies depending on your geographical location, natural skin tone, time of day, cloud cover, and other factors, but for many people, just 15 minutes outside without sunscreen and with their arms or legs exposed around midday can be enough. Those with darker skin tones will need to spend longer outdoors to get the benefits.
In places like the U.K., winter sunlight doesn’t have enough UVB radiation to spur the body to create vitamin D, according to the NHS. If this is the case where you live, you’ll have to get it from supplements. It’s difficult to get sufficient amounts from food, but some foods that are high in vitamin D include oily fish like sardines and salmon, eggs, and red meat.
Diabetes isn’t the only disease you might be able to keep at bay by staying on top of your vitamin D levels; it has also been shown to help prevent some types of cancer. It’s time to head outdoors and make sure you’re getting enough of the sunshine vitamin to protect your health!
Sources for this article include: