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This Vitamin May Help Reduce Risk of Diabetes

Diabetes can be a costly, difficult illness to manage but a recent study might provide an inexpensive way to keep blood sugar levels in the proper range. Researchers at the Tufts Medical Center in Boston have found that high plasma levels of vitamin D may help people with pre-diabetes avoid developing diabetes.

Results were presented at the 71st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, which took place in San Diego the week of June 24, 2011.

The study included 2,039 participants with high blood sugar levels. Vitamin D levels were measured at the beginning of the study and then six months, one year, two years and three years later. This allowed the researchers to more accurately measure vitamin D status over time.

At the end of the three years, the researchers found that the participants in the group with the highest third of plasma vitamin D levels (average 30ng/mL) were 38% less likely to develop diabetes than participants with the lowest third levels (average 13 ng/mL). Additionally, across all groups the participants showed an 8% decrease in developing diabetes for every 5 ng/mL increase in vitamin D found in the blood.

The researchers noted that a more comprehensive study involving a placebo group is necessary to determine the exact effect vitamin D supplementation would have on diabetes.

Vitamin D has been linked to cardiovascular health, improved eye health, skin cancer prevention, and reduction in age-related mental decline. Some studies have even suggested that vitamin D can help improve mood.

A great source of vitamin D is the sun, but be sure to protect yourself from skin damaging UV rays with an SPF sunscreen. If you feel like you’re not getting enough vitamin D through your diet or sun exposure, consider a high quality supplement.

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