New research says that maintaining optimal vitamin D levels can cut the risk of developing type 1 and type 2 diabetes by up to 50 percent, according to the Vitamin D Society, a Canadian non-profit group. The findings of three new studies on vitamin D from various sources were released on Feb. 25, 2013.
People with diabetes have high levels of blood glucose because of deficient insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetics are at twice the risk for death than non-diabetics. Approximately 90 percent of people with this disease have type 1 diabetes, while 10 percent have type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D improves glucose tolerance and insulin secretion. The Vitamin D Society says that public health action programs are urgently needed to encourage the public to take vitamin D to prevent diabetes and improve their health.
A meta-analysis study of 16 studies on 72,204 people compared people with low and high vitamin D levels and found that the study participants with the highest levels of vitamin D had a reduced rate of type 2 diabetes. The study author, Dr. Shoaib Afzal of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark found that low concentrations of vitamin D were strongly associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, irrespective of the study’s design or the type of population studied. The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal “Clinical Chemistry.”
A second study analyzed the risk for type 1 diabetes by studying the records of US military personnel. The study found that non-Hispanic whites whose vitamin D levels were greater than 100 nmol/L had a 63% risk reduction for type 1 diabetes compared to those with levels less than 75 nmol/L(5).
“Based on the evidence, I believe if everyone achieved optimal vitamin D levels we could eradicate type 1 diabetes,” said Dr. Cedric F. Garland, a Professor from the UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. “In fact our latest study on U.S. military service members found that people who had the lowest vitamin D levels had 3.5 times the risk for insulin-requiring diabetes compared to those with the highest levels.”
A group of researchers, prominent vitamin D doctors, and scientists have published a paper called “The Scientists Call to D*action.” They recommended that people achieve optimal vitamin D blood serum levels between or 40-60 ng/ml (U.S.A.) or 100-150 nmol/L (Canada) for best overall health and disease prevention.
“The promising impact that optimal vitamin D levels could have on reducing diabetes cases in Canada and the USA is phenomenal,” said Perry Holman, Executive Director for the Vitamin D Society. “With over 28 million people suffering from diabetes in Canada and the U.S.A., the research presented here supports that optimal vitamin D levels have the potential to reduce this by 50% or 14 million cases.”
The Vitamin D Society recommends that people ask their family doctors to measure their 25(OH)D blood serum levels. If their vitamin D levels are low (below 40 ng/ml USA 100 nmol/L Canada), people should increase their vitamin D intake. Dr. John Cannell recommends a sunbed, sunlight, or D3 supplementation to increase vitamin D blood levels.