Vitamin D and Diabetes: An ignored relationship
Diabetes is a complex condition. Things that may work for me may not work for another diabetic; that’s why we try experimenting different things to understand our body reaction.
Try searching the internet and you will find that most of the articles are related to exercise or the types of food that needed to be tried.
Sure, those articles are important and provide good value to all the readers. But it’s important for a diabetic like us or who are at high risk developing it to widen our view.
In this article, we will touch on important element called “Vitamin D” also known as “the sunshine vitamin”
Underestimating Vitamin D
we have all heard about vitamin D;
Ask any 4th-grade school boy about it and you will get good answer;
It’s the vitamin that keeps our bone strong and teeth healthy.
But is this vitamin more than that?
Have we underestimated Vitamin D functionality?
Is there any role vitamin D could play to keep diabetes at bay?
Is there any relationship between Vitamin D and Diabetes?
Yes, Vitamin D is more than something that keeps our bones healthy and it has significance for all the diabetic around.
It is a fat soluble vitamin which is produced in our body when it gets exposed to sunlight (UAV rays).
Vitamin D receptors are present in each and every cell of our body. It has a major role to play as I will be mentioned in later part of the article.
How it impacts diabetic around here?
Various researchers have developed a link between Vitamin D and Diabetes; though the finding is not something that can be concluded, still significant to consider:
a. Type 1 Diabetes: Researchers found that children who developed Type 1 diabetes were also low in their Vitamin D Level. It’s better to see your child maintain good levels to reduce the risk and slow down pancreas damage by our immune system.
it has also been found that Type 1 diabetics who supplement their Vitamin D have greater control over their blood sugar and a slight drop in insulin requirements.
But can it prevent Type 1?
It still needs to be found out. This link between Vitamin D and Diabetes Type 1 needs to be researched as soon as possible
b. Type 2: Vitamin D has also found to play role in glucose metabolism. A person with low vitamin level has a high risk to develop insulin resistance and get Type 2 diabetes.
If you are type 2 diabetic, get your Vitamin D levels checked. If the levels are low, try to keep up with the normal ranges. The Vitamin can help to increase your insulin sensitivity and that will decrease your medication dosages
c. Prevents dementia: High blood sugar causes plaque in the brain which leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
Apparently, those who are mildly deficient in this vitamin have 50% more risk to develop Alzheimer
d. Cardiovascular Disease
Suppose you are diabetic and suffer cardiac arrest, you are more likely to die within 6 months if you are Vitamin D deficient too
Now, we have read basics of Vitamin D and Diabetes; it’s time to dig deep.
Ok; But who has higher chance to get vitamin D deficient?
If you fall in following categories, you should take care of your levels;
1. Dark Skin: If you lie in African American, Indian or any group that have dark complexion who are at higher risk.
We know that our skin synthesizes Vitamin D whenever it gets exposed to sunlight.
But if are from above group, then the pigments on your skin slows down the synthesis and that keep your numbers low.
So you have to keep your self on sunlight for more duration to fulfill the required production of Vitamin D
2. Feeling Low and Depressed:
If you are depressed and are not keeping yourself up with daily life, its time to check your Vitamin D levels.
Serotine is a brain hormone associated with mood. More the serotine secretion, more your mood will be joyful,
And serotine level, it has been found, rises with exposure to light and
So if you are depressed chances are that your Vitamin D level is low.
You also need to understand that depression in diabetes is not uncommon and could be a psychological issue.
Dealing with such challenges in each and every day is not easy. And more often than not situation turns out to be something not as planned.
If you feel you are depressed and feel the hard time to wake up from bed; you can consider a visit to the psychologist. There nothing wrong with it and you don’t have to be shameful about what anybody gonna thinks about it.
If I talk about India, where I live, it’s a huge social stigma to visit a psychological therapist.
you can imagine the pressure a person has if he thinks about having a therapy. Usually family try to avoid the condition here until the patient condition worsens and till no choice left
3. You are above 50 years of age
With age, your skin ability to make the Vitamin D lessons out and that’s also one of the reasons that with age type 2 diabetes risk increases.
If you are in above 45, get vigilant about your vitamin D range. Increase your time under sunlight;
And if feel that you are not spending that time enough, you can take vitamin D supplement (the subject on which I will deal later)
Vitamin D is fat soluble;
the extra fat you have in your body will act as a sink and will drink up most part of it;
so if you obese, your vitamin D need is higher and you have to take some extra steps for that.
I don’t fulfill the above criteria but still, I am Vitamin D deficient; what could be the reason?
Well, there are could be following reasons for that:
1. You live in the cold country:
These country have short sunlight duration.
And it would get difficult for residents out there to fulfill their requirements,
2. You are not spending time outdoors
Now our spirit of competitiveness has increased to such a level that we are even ignoring our health to achieve that great trophy.
you spend most of the time in your office, in that small cubicle inside the air-conditioned room to achieve something that you have dreamt of.
Now there are no outdoor plays with your children;
no energy to have walk in the morning as you slept late;
And now you are Vitamin D deficient that will ultimately make you diabetic
3. Overindulgence with Laptop/Mobile phone
Now I rarely have sight of the kids, who used to play football, hide & seek on the nearby locality.
They are more indulge in Videogames and Mobile phones.
They are happy with it these new technologies;
And has declared those games as something outdated and old-fashioned
There has been a shift in the ranges as new researchers come up. But the ideal range is said to be 50-70 ng/ml.
As you read above that vitamin D and Diabetes does have a link.It’s better to keep your numbers in ideal range to reduce the risk of getting this severe condition.
I found out that I am Vitamin D deficient. What to do now?
You can do following things:
It is the best option to fulfill your requirement
Try to get yourself sunlight for 15 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week. Instead of working out in a closed gym, you can have a morning walk in your locality.
Sunlight is the best bet because:
a. Self Regulated by Body: you won’t get an excess of vitamin D anytime
b. The skin also synthesize cholesterol sulfate, which is important for cardiovascular health
2. Electronic Tanning Bed:
If the weather is not sunny enough in your country, you can buy electronic tanning equipment.
In the market, you will find magnetic ones also, but do not buy that. They generate EMF field that may harm your body in long-term.
3. Vitamin Supplements: The above two are the best option that can fulfill the dose.
But if due to some reasons you are unable to get the above two, you can take vitamin supplements for the coverup.
But before buying any supplements from the market, you need to understand that there are two variants of Vitamin D:
a. Vitamin D2 (synthetic name: Drisdol, ergo calciferol)
This vitamin is typically prescribed and easily available in the market.
However, they are not of much importance; Why?
I will explain in later part; Read on.
b. Vitamin D3 (Chole Calciferol)
This is the vitamin which is synthesized by our body naturally in reaction to sunlight.
This is the vitamin you should look out for taking a supplement; why?
a. it has been found that Vitamin D3 decrease mortality rate by 6%. Such is not the case with Vitamin D2
b. Get convert into active form much faster
c. More shelf life in body
Note: If you are taking Vitamin D supplements, consider adding Vitamin K2 also. Vitamin K2 moves calcium in required areas of the body. It also prevents calcium accumulation in arteries.
However, it’s wise to consult your doctor and get the recommendations.
4. Food Intake: We can get Vitamin D from our diet but depending only on dietary sources will not fulfill our requirements
a. Plant Sources: We will get Vitamin D2 from here
b. Animal Sources: Fish like Salmon, tuna, mackerel are the good source of Vitamin D3. You can also have egg yolk and milk (fortified with vitamin D3) to fulfill your needs
Now that you have understood the case of Vitamin D and Diabetes, I can say that we need to widen our thinking to understand diabetes better.
Tell us how it’s been difficult for you to manage your blood sugar.
Do you have other reasons that make your blood sugar rose high?
and let’s have a discussion about your uncontrolled diabetes; it’s always nice to share and help each other out
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