Low Vitamin D Levels May Increase Diabetes Risk
A recent study found that low levels of Vitamin D may significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes. The study was conducted at the Western Hospital at the University of Melbourne and the findings were published in the journal Diabetes Care.
The researchers followed 5,200 Australian adults without diabetes for 5 years for the study. Blood levels of vitamin D were taken at the beginning of the study and again at the end. 200 of the participants had developed diabetes at the end of the 5 –year study period.
The researchers found that participants with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 57% more likely to develop diabetes compared to those with recommended levels. This relationship remained true even after the researchers accounted for outside factors such as age, waist circumference, and a family history of the disease.
The researchers noted that further tests are necessary to confirm these findings and determine the optimal level of vitamin D necessary to reduce diabetes risk.
Vitamin D is well known for its many health benefits, most notably in regard to bone health. Vitamin D has also been shown to support the immune system, normal muscle function and healthy teeth and gums.
It is important to remember that getting your daily dose of vitamin D is difficult through sunshine alone, especially as we age and our skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin. For this reason it may be beneficial to add more vitamin D fortified foods to your diet such as dairy and cereals.
Milk is the largest source of vitamin D in the American diet. Drinking three glasses per day of low-fat or fat-free milk may provide 75% of the daily recommended value of vitamin D. The current recommendation is 600 IU for those under the age of 70, and 800 IU for those over the age of 70.