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Prediabetes and Vitamin D Supplementation

Prediabetes and Vitamin D

Prediabetes and Vitamin D

Prediabetes is a state of hyperglycemia that is considered abnormal but not enough to label a person as diabetic. This stage has a lot of importance because it is preventable. Apart from diet, exercise, and medications, supplements such as Vitamin D have been proven to revert prediabetes to normal.

Vitamin D belongs to the fat-soluble family of vitamins. It offers plenty of health benefits apart from being important for strong and healthy bones. It is one of those vitamins that play a major role in regulating the body’s metabolism.

Vitamin D plays a key role in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity which is why it is often discussed along with conditions like prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

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What Role Does Vitamin D Play in Prediabetes?

Recent research has focused on the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and its association with the development of metabolic disorders.

The non-skeletal effects of Vitamin D have become the prime focus in recent years. One of such effects is the role of Vitamin D in pancreatic insulin release and insulin sensitivity

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased prevalence of prediabetes. Vitamin D regulates insulin secretion, and improves the β- cell survival rate this is why a deficiency of vitamin D impairs insulin secretion leading to insulin resistance and the onset of prediabetes.

Research suggests that the increased prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a higher prevalence of prediabetes and the risk is higher in females because the female hormones are linked to vitamin D status. [Ref]

Another study suggests that Vitamin-D deficiency in the prediabetic population is linked to an increased risk of type-2 diabetes. [Ref]

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Vitamin D Supplementation in Prediabetes

If vitamin-D deficiency can be the factor causing prediabetes, it might also be reversed by vitamin-D supplementation.

There are different scientific suggestions on the benefits of vitamin-D supplementation in prediabetes and diabetes.

One study suggests that vitamin-D supplementation in the prediabetic population results in improved glucose metabolism, and random blood sugar levels but it failed to improve insulin sensitivity. [Ref]

Another study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition included 90 diabetic patients that were assigned to 3 groups.

Group 1 consumed plain yogurt drink, group 2 consumed vitamin-D fortified yogurt, and group 3 consumed vitamin-D plus calcium-fortified yogurt.

The study results showed that both groups with fortified yogurt had a significantly improved glycemic status. [Ref]

Similarly, a meta-analysis suggests that Vitamin-D supplementation caused significant reductions in fasting blood glucose and HbA1c levels among Asians, FBG levels among Europeans, and HbA1c among Americans. With the effect more significantly observed among Asians. [Ref]

While some studies report a positive association between Vitamin-D supplementation others show no association at all.

One study suggests that Vitamin-D levels do not predict the status of prediabetes and no correlation was observed between low levels of vitamin D and Hba1c. [Ref]

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Vitamin-D supplementation and its impact according to your BMI

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that your BMI might impact whether or not Vitamin-D supplementation benefits you. [Ref]

This might be because Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and in fat or obese people, it is stored in the fat cells until needed for further metabolism.

Studies suggest that analysis of a subgroup reported that the benefit of vitamin-D supplementation was only seen among the non-obese participants. Other studies suggest that vitamin-D metabolism is greatly influenced by obesity. [Ref]

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Factors That Cause Vitamin-D Deficiency:

Some of the problems that might lead to a vitamin D deficiency include

  • Not enough exposure to sunlight
  • Not taking Vitamin-D-rich sources in the diet
  • Problems that cause malabsorption
  • Problems with the liver and kidney due to which vitamin D is not converted to its active form
  • Obesity

How to Get Vitamin D Naturally?

Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D. When exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from the sun, the body converts a cholesterol derivative into Vitamin D.  Soak in the rays for about 15-20 minutes between 10 am to 3 pm.

You can also get Vitamin-D from the following foods:

  • Fatty fish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Fortified milk, yogurt, and juices
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How Much Vitamin D Should be Taken if You Have a Deficiency?

The daily recommended intake of vitamin D ranges from 600-800 IU.

Vitamin D is classified into two types: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is found in plants and fortified foods, whereas vitamin D3 is found in animals and is naturally produced in the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight.

Vegans can take vitamin D2 supplements, but vitamin D3 may be more effective for optimal benefits. This could be due to differences in their chemical structures and ability to bind to vitamin D receptors, among other things.

Higher dose formulations of vitamin D3 may be used. Cholecalciferol supplements are available in doses of 50,000 units and 200,000 units as capsules, soft gels, and injections.

The 50,000 units vitamin D capsule can be taken once weekly while the 200,000 units capsule or injection can be taken once monthly.

In individuals with severe deficiency, the dosing frequency can be reduced to half.

Conclusion

Vitamin D might play a significant role in regulating the body’s metabolism which is why vitamin-D deficiency might be linked to the onset of prediabetes.

Prediabetes is also caused due to obesity another factor that I indirectly linked to vitamin-D deficiency.

However, the effect of vitamin-D supplementation in improving the glycemic status of the prediabetic population still needs further research.

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What do you think?

Written by Diabetes Doctor

I am an Internist practicing medicine for the last fifteen years. Over the years, I have learned that medicine is not about prescribing pills. True medical practice is helping people.
I do prescribe pills as well but the best results I get are when I motivate people to overcome their problems with little changes in their lifestyles.
Since most of my patients are obese and have diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol levels, I am writing at dibesity.com when free.
Dibesity, I know the correct word is diabesity. Ignore this! Be with us.
Also, you can contact me directly at dibesity.com@gmail.com

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