In the media coverage gearing up for November’s American Diabetes Month, here’s a breakthrough you won’t hear about—especially from the drug companies. New research has found that simply getting enough vitamin D can help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München in Germany found that people with good concentrations of vitamin D in their blood are at a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Plus, the reverse is also true: A low level of vitamin D puts you at higher risk for diabetes. While there are many factors at work, the researchers primarily attributed the protective properties of vitamin D in preventing diabetes to its anti-inflammatory effects.
Beyond Preventing Diabetes
But diabetes prevention isn’t the only benefit of this vital nutrient. Vitamin D performs a host of crucial roles. It is necessary for calcium absorption and utilization. It regulates the activity of dozens of genes and promotes normal cell division and growth. It is also intimately involved in immune function, insulin secretion, blood clotting and blood pressure control.
How much vitamin D do you need? The dose you require depends on your sun exposure, geographic location, skin color, age, weight and other factors. There truly is no single dose that’s right for everyone. As a general rule, I’ve found that 2,000–5,000 IU daily works for most people. Your best bet is to have your blood level of vitamin D (25(OH)D) tested and take enough supplemental vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) to keep it in the optimal range of 50–80 ng/mL to prevent diabetes.
Now it’s your turn: How much vitamin D do you take?
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