Vitamin D plays an important role in preventing diabetes. Studies have found a close association between diabetes and vitamin D deficiency. To prevent diabetes, steps should be taken to prevent vitamin D deficiency in children and adults.
Vitamin D and type 1 diabetes
Researchers have found that type 1 diabetes usually affects people living in areas that receive less sunlight. Since sunlight is needed for manufacturing vitamin D, deficiency of this vitamin leads to type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes is a chronic disease that primarily occurs in children, adolescents and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas could not produce enough insulin capable of absorbing the glucose released in the blood stream from digestion of carbohydrates. In this form of diabetes, within 5 to 10 years, all the beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed. The pancreas could therefore produce no more insulin. Researchers have observed that infants suffering from vitamin D deficiency have a high risk of developing diabetes within 10 to 15 years.
Vitamin D deficiency and type 2 diabetes
Researchers have found that vitamin D along with calcium could reduce insulin resistance, and increase insulin sensitivity. Moreover, vitamin D could prevent occurrence of type 2 diabetes. Studies have found that risk of type 2 diabetes is greater among people suffering from vitamin D and calcium deficiencies.
Vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease
Vitamin D is not only effective in preventing diabetes, but studies have found that this vitamin could prevent heart diseases in diabetes patients. Diabetes patients have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers have found that diabetes patients suffering from vitamin D deficiency have poor cholesterol processing ability. This results in cholesterol deposition in blood vessels. Over time, oxidation of low density lipoprotein or the bad cholesterol leads to plague formation. This narrows and stiffens the arteries, clogging them, and consequently increasing the risk of heart diseases and strokes. Researchers have found that vitamin D could obstruct cholesterol build up in the blood vessels, preventing atherosclerosis.
Vitamin D sources
Sunlight is the freely available source of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency could be easily prevented by exposure to early morning and late afternoon sunlight for about 15 minutes. You can also get vitamin D from milk and dairy products fortified with vitamin D, fish, cod liver oil, liver and egg.