Researchers in Maryland have found that vitamin D deficiency may be linked to poor diabetes control.
Vitamin D is found in foods, such as eggs, fish and fortified milk. It is also produced in the body after sun exposure. Adequate vitamin D levels are necessary for the body to absorb the essential minerals calcium and phosphorus. It is also important for immune system function and healthy bones.
The researchers analyzed data from 124 adults with type 2 diabetes from 2003 to 2008. They specifically analyzed their average glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and vitamin D levels. HbA1c levels are used to measure how well diabetes is being controlled. The American Diabetes Association recommends that patients with diabetes keep their HbA1c levels below seven percent.
The researchers found that more than 91 percent of the participants were vitamin D deficient, and only eight subjects reported taking vitamin D supplements. Individuals with the lowest vitamin D levels had the highest HbA1c levels, which indicated poor diabetes control.
The researchers also noted that this association was even more pronounced among African Americans compared to Caucasians.
This recent study was presented at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society. It supports earlier findings that vitamin D may be needed for proper pancreatic beta-cell function and insulin secretion.
However, this study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between vitamin D deficiency and diabetes. Additional research is needed to fully understand the potential correlation between the two conditions.
For more information about vitamin D, please visit Natural Standard’s Foods, Herbs & Supplements database.