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Vitamin D And Diabetes - What Is The Relation?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ravindra Chhajed 91% (338 ratings)
MBBS, FCPS - Medicine, DNB - General Medicine (I)
Diabetologist, Pune  •  23 years experience
Vitamin D And Diabetes - What Is The Relation?

In spite of adequate sunshine throughout the year, deficiency of Vitamin D has become common in India. And, a deficiency in Vitamin D is believed to be a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which performs various vital functions such as keeping up the health of bones and joints and assisting the immune system of the body. It plays a critical role in the metabolism of calcium, and the lack of this vitamin can lead to a series of diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications.

How is Vitamin D related to diabetes?
Vitamin D aids in improving the body's sensitivity to insulin, which is a hormone meant for regulating blood sugar levels. Thus, this vitamin can reduce the risk of insulin resistance which is often considered a warning sign of type 2 diabetes.

Some experts believe that Vitamin D can regulate the production of insulin in the pancreas. Moreover, it has other health benefits too that can have an impact on the regulation of blood sugar levels. Some of the benefits include:

  1. Assisting weight loss- One of the major risk factors for diabetes is obesity. Many studies indicate that having adequate levels of Vitamin D can help in reducing the parathyroid hormone levels, which can promote weight loss and reduce the risk of obesity.
  2. Regulating appetite- Vitamin D can raise the level of hormone Leptin, which is responsible for controlling the fat storage in the body. It helps in triggering the sensation of satiety which would make you eat less thereby lowering hunger levels.
  3. Reducing fat around the visceral organs- When there are adequate levels of Vitamin D, it can help in lowering the levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. This hormone is responsible for performing many important functions including regulating blood pressure. When the cortisol level is under control, it helps in reducing the abdominal or visceral fat which is detrimental to health and has an adverse effect on type 2 diabetes.

Where can you get vitamin D from?
Vitamin D is found in some food items such as healthy fats and sea fish. It is also produced by the body when our skin comes in contact with the UV-B rays of the sun as the cholesterol derivative is converted into Vitamin D. You will be surprised to know that every cell and tissue present in the body acts as a Vitamin D protein receptor.

There are two forms of Vitamin D- Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. D3 is synthesized by the human body when the sun rays fall on the skin. This form is 300% more potent than D2, which is the plant-synthesized form that is available as supplements.

If you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, better bask in the sun for 10 - 15 minutes every day, or start taking supplements as advised by your doctor.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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