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How Vitamin D May Help Prevent Onset of Type-2 Diabetes

Previous studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk of type-2 diabetes. A recent study from the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Tufts Medical Center in Boston shows how vitamin D may help protect against the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The study was published in the August 2011 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Ninety-two adults with an average age of 57 participated in the study. All of the participants had risk factors for diabetes, including obesity (average BMI of 32 kg/m2), and and an average A1c measurement of 5.9%. A1c measures long-term blood sugar levels and measurements of 7% or more are considered diabetic..

At the onset of the study, researchers measured the disposition index, which indicates how the beta-cells in the pancreas (the organ that produces insulin) are functioning. The participants were split into two groups, with one group taking 2,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily and one group taking a placebo.

At the conclusion of the 16 week study, the researchers again measured the disposition index in each group. The disposition index for the supplement group increased by an average of 300, while the disposition index for the placebo group decreased by an average of 126. This indicates that vitamin D supplementation resulted in improved beta-cell functioning of 15% to 30%.

Vitamin D has been linked to a wide variety of health benefits, including reductions in the risk of skin cancer, improved bone health, improving mood and symptoms of depression, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, improved cardiovascular health, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.

Dietary vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but those of us living in the northern parts of the world usually need more vitamin D than we are able to get from sunshine alone. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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