Many commentators on natural health and healing claim that taking supplemental vitamin D may do type 2 diabetics just as much good as the leading diabetes drug that actually works, metformin. Vitamin D is becoming the go-to remedy for a wide range of health conditions ranging from osteoporosis to breast cancer to heart disease. This sunshine vitamin that was once only thought to treat rickets… is now believed to have profound benefits in almost all aspects of human health.
As for the real benefits of vitamin D for type 2 diabetes, the original research was conducted in the 1980’s in Sweden. Fair-skinned Scandinavian men with type 2 diabetes were found to get better control over their blood sugar levels when given vitamin D supplements, but only if their vitamin D levels were already deficient. In a northerly location like Sweden, vitamin D deficiency has always been a problem. Type 2 diabetic men in the study who already had adequate levels of vitamin D, did not get a similar benefit, although their blood pressure levels went down slightly.
In 2010, scientists now know that people with different skin tones have different requirements for vitamin D. Persons of African or Australian aboriginal descent for instance, need less vitamin D than people from Iceland or Greenland. Giving people with black skin color supplemental vitamin D, can have the unwelcome side effect of storing calcium in the cholesterol plaques that may have formed in the linings of their arteries. For African-Americans and descendants of native Australian peoples, supplemental vitamin D may lower blood sugars but cause atherosclerosis.
If you have dark skin tones, it is best you take no more than 400 IU of vitamin D a day, even if you are on temporary assignment to Antarctica. People with dark skin tones usually also have genes that make vitamin D work very efficiently. If you have dark skin, only take vitamin D supplements when you don’t have any opportunity to get outdoors in the daytime at all, three days a week or more.
About Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is produced as a result of your skin being exposed to sunlight… it helps you to absorb calcium amongst other things. It is usually a good idea to spend 15 to 20 minutes daily outside. If you are able to do this, usually you do not need to take supplementation.
Another method to absorb vitamin D is through nutrition… vitamin D deficiency also results partly from poor nutrition. This is one of the challenges for people with type 2 diabetes.
Food sources include:
juices fortified with vitamin D
soy milk, for example Silk
certain fortified cereals, for example Kix and Kellogg’s low-fat granola with raisins
Vitamin D strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis: might lower the risk of colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. A study from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri found that vitamin D also played a part in the prevention of cholesterol buildup.
Maintaining a good supply of vitamin D will help in preventing those long-term complications that accompany type 2 diabetes.