The relationship between vitamin D and diabetes has been studied by researchers for years, but new studies suggest vitamin D therapy could help prevent diabetes and prediabetes from developing.
How vitamin D and diabetes work
Diabetes happens when beta cells in the pancreas become dysfunctional and stop making insulin or stop using the insulin they make. This causes sugar to build up in the blood stream and damage nerve vessels all over the body. Vitamin D protects the beta cells in the pancreas and increases insulin sensitivity, which can reverse a diagnosis of prediabetes and, in rare cases, send a case of type 2 diabetes into remission.
Research on vitamin D and diabetes
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine deactivated vitamin D receptors in mice and found that the mice were far more likely to develop diabetes. When the receptors were switched off, mice had inflammation, excess glucose, insulin resistance, and plaque accumulation in blood vessels.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Healthcare professionals consider a healthy vitamin D range to be between 20-56 nanograms/milliliter (ng/ml). Anything less than this is probably considered vitamin D deficiency.
The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can often be subtle and go unnoticed. Some common symptoms are:
- Getting sick often
- Slow-healing wounds
- Bone pain
- Muscle pain
- Hair loss
Consult your doctor before taking any vitamin D supplements as they could interact with your diabetes medication.