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Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Higher Insulin Resistance

New research is being released nearly every day showing just how important vitamin D is to your health. A new study published online ahead of print on November 9, 2011, in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows the link between low serum levels of the sunshine vitamin and higher insulin resistance.

The researchers were based at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Participants in the study included 498 obese and non-obese children from North Texas. The researchers asked them about their daily consumption of soda, juice and milk, average daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, and whether or not that usually ate breakfast. They also measured the plasma vitamin D levels, blood sugar levels, serum insulin, BMI and blood pressure of all of the children.

92% of the children in the obese group had a 25-hydroxoxyvitamin D level lower than 75 nmol per liter (30.0 ng/mL), compared to 68% of the children in the non-overweight group. 75 nmol per liter (30.0 ng/mL) has been scientifically determined to be the adequate level of vitamin D.

Additionally, 50% of the children in the obese group had levels below 50 nmol per liter (20.0 ng/mL), signifying that they were vitamin D deficient, compared to 22% in the non-overweight group.

The obese children with low vitamin D levels were found to have higher degrees of insulin resistance. Higher insulin resistance means the body is not properly using insulin and it is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

The researchers pointed out that this study does not show causation between low levels of vitamin D and type 2 diabetes. However, they recommend that more research be conducted to determine if raising vitamin D levels would lower insulin resistance.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that has been linked to numerous other health benefits, including reductions in skin cancer, 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 it becomes harder for our bodies to process vitamin D as we age. 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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