Diabetes is a chronic disease without a cure, marked by abnormally high blood sugar levels that pose various health risks. Hence, those with diabetes should constantly monitor and control their blood sugar levels with a healthy diet and medicines. People in the prediabetic stage are at a high risk of developing diabetes if they do not make the necessary lifestyle changes, like losing weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding processed foods. Additionally, consuming vitamin D may help to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. This vitamin reduces insulin resistance and maintains a healthier hormone balance, which can help prevent diabetes. You can consult your doctor regarding supplements that may be suitable, as per your medical history.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that adversely impacts the body’s glucose-regulating mechanisms. It leads to dangerously high blood sugar levels, which can cause various health complications. Therefore, those with diabetes have to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels and try to regulate them with a healthy lifestyle and medications.
Out of the different types of diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is the most common. It happens when the body does not produce enough insulin or is unable to use the insulin to utilize glucose. The stage before the onset of this type of diabetes is called prediabetes. This is the stage where the blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle during the prediabetic stage may reduce the risk of diabetes, and studies indicate that vitamin D consumption may be one such preventative measure.
Some Facts About Vitamin D That You Should Know
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is an essential nutrient for us. It has various functions, such as helping with the absorption of calcium, reducing inflammation, boosting immunity, and contributing to glucose absorption.
There are limited sources of vitamin D as far as food is concerned. You can consume it through fatty fish, eggs, and mushrooms. Furthermore, fortified milk and cereals can also be a source of this vitamin. Additionally, exposure to sunlight leads to vitamin D synthesis in the body. However, for most people, food and sunlight are not enough to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. In this case, vitamin D supplements can help you achieve the same.
Notably, there are two types of vitamin D present in food and supplements. These are ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol. Both variants of the vitamin have very similar chemical structures except for their side chains and can easily be absorbed by our intestines. Hence, you can use either of these two as a supplement to meet your Vitamin D requirements.
How Can Vitamin D Lower the Risk of Prediabetes?
Some recent studies suggest that vitamin D intake can contribute to the prevention of diabetes and may lower the risk of the disease by up to 15%. While any supplement alone may not be sufficient to prevent diabetes, when paired with a healthy diet and physical exercise, it can help you prevent the prediabetic stage.
Here are some possible mechanisms by which vitamin D can contribute to the control and prevention of diabetes:
Vitamin D is often referred to as a prohormone, a substance that the body uses to produce hormones. Since hormones affect the endocrine system and have a direct role to play in type 2 diabetes, adequate consumption of vitamin D may prevent the disease.
Vitamin D may also prevent insulin resistance in the body. Insulin resistance is the condition in which the body is unable to use insulin to utilize glucose, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. Hence, vitamin D supplements may help you reduce the risk of prediabetes.
How Can Prediabetic People Reduce the Risk of Developing Diabetes
If you are already prediabetic, then maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you reduce the risk of diabetes. Here are some tips that may prevent you from becoming diabetic:
- Eat a clean diet and avoid processed sugary foods. Instead, opt for complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber in your diet. Include whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, and healthy fat sources like avocado and fatty fish in your diet.
- Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate or heavy exercise 5 times a week. Some activities you can pick include walking, running, cycling, or swimming.4
- If you are overweight, try to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy BMI with a good diet and physical activities.
- Avoid smoking.
Can vitamin D prevent type 2 diabetes? Perhaps it may not be sufficient on its own, but combined with the above lifestyle tips, you may be able to keep diabetes at bay.
Some Precautions to Keep in Mind About Vitamin D And Diabetes Studies
It is important to note that the findings of the popular study mentioned above may not be directly applicable to everyone. Firstly, the recommended daily dosage of vitamin D for adults is around 600 IU, whereas the study used high levels of the vitamin, namely 4000 IU per day. Consuming high doses of vitamin D can cause excess calcium absorption in the body, which can lead to problems like constipation and kidney stones. Notedly, the study did not include participants that were at a prior risk of kidney disease and other vulnerable populations like children and pregnant or lactating women. Hence, you must consult your doctor before deciding to consume vitamin D for the control and prevention of diabetes.
Another study mentions that a daily intake of 800 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium may reduce the risk of diabetes. Due to the different dose recommendations and choice of subjects for various studies, it is safest to take your doctor’s advice regarding supplements to prevent diabetes as per your medical history.
FAQs about Vitamin D
Vitamin D may be helpful to some extent in diabetes prevention, as per studies. It is a prohormone that reduces insulin resistance, thereby minimizing the symptoms that can lead to diabetes.
Vitamin D consumed in food or supplement form or derived through sunlight may help prevent diabetes. However, you will need to pair it with a clean diet and an active lifestyle for better prevention.
Vitamin D may help prevent or regulate type 2 diabetes by ensuring hormonal balance in the endocrine system and preventing insulin resistance. However, you will also need to lead a healthy lifestyle to control your diabetes.
Vitamin D may help prevent diabetes when paired with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Those who are overweight, above 45 years of age, smoke regularly, and are Vitamin D deficient are at a higher risk of diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes is a debilitating disease without a cure. It poses the risk of various health issues if not controlled lifelong with a healthy lifestyle and medications. Therefore, many are curious about ways to prevent diabetes, especially if they are already prediabetic.
There has been rising interest in whether Vitamin D can prevent type 2 diabetes, and many studies suggest that vitamin D intake may contribute to diabetes prevention. However, excess vitamin D consumption comes with its own risk of excess calcium absorption, which causes concerns like kidney stones.
Therefore, further research may help determine the adequate dosage of vitamin D to prevent diabetes, along with other precautions that may be needed. If you are curious about trying this vitamin for diabetes prevention, make sure to consult your doctor first.