You’ve probably already heard that if you’re going to stay healthy, you’ll need the sun’s help. Vitamin D deficiency has long been linked to chronic illnesses, but a new study has found that vitamin D can specifically target diabetes and help improve the health of those with it. Type 2 diabetes is typically associated with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease-- two conditions that are linked to persistent inflammation and a ton of other complications. Prescription drugs have been wildly unsuccessful when it comes to reversing any damage linked to type 2 diabetes, which is why this new research is so exciting.
When you find ways your body can fight disease naturally, you’ll most likely be less reliant on medications that come with a series of side effects.
Vitamin D is not only the sun’s gift to our skin but also a hormone that is pretty much an MVP in most of our bodily systems. The production occurs when sunlight hits the cholesterol in our skin, so if we stay in the sun, we’ll be able to make enough of our own. If you’re not lucky enough to live in a perfect climate all year round, or if you don’t have access to constant sunlight (e.g., working indoors), you can easily lose out on the vitamin D production you need to stay healthy and become deficient. Luckily, food and supplements can help us out with this one.
A vitamin D deficiency is no joke; it can slow down your health and is linked to inadequate bone growth, immune dysfunction, neuromuscular issues, improper blood sugar regulation, and constant inflammation-- just to name a few. Researchers have shown that increasing your vitamin D levels can improve vital markers that put individuals with diabetes at risk. One study treated participants with 5000 IU of vitamin D every day for 8 weeks. Here are the results!
1. A Decrease in HbA1c
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) may sound like a confusing term, but your doctor basically uses it to measure your average blood sugar over a period of about 2-3 months. Specifically, your HbA1c indicates how much glucose has bound to your red blood cells. Your levels should ideally be under 5%; a level that reaches 5.7% and above is a sign that you have a blood sugar imbalance, which can put you at risk for diabetes development.
2. A Boost in Superoxide Dismutase
Superoxide dismutase helps break down free radicals, which are harmful oxygen molecules. An excess of free radicals in your body means that you’ll have an increase in oxidative stress, ultimately leading you to inflammation. There are ways to protect your body against this, however. Superoxide dismutase, in conjunction with antioxidants, helps protect your DNA and tissues from damage done by related diseases.
3. Increases HDL cholesterol
Most health care professionals will refer to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) as your “good” cholesterol.
However, HDL is a molecule that helps transport cholesterol from other tissues back to the liver.
If you have too much LDL with not enough HDL, you are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease-- especially if you’re in a state of chronic inflammation.
4. Lowers Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
Your ESR is able to tell how many inflammatory proteins are in your blood. Vitamin D reduced the level of ESR in participants, indicating that their inflammation levels were lowered after the 8 weeks of treatment.
The Bottom Line
When all is said and done, this study demonstrates how increasing vitamin D levels can successfully reduce blood sugar imbalance, inflammation, risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and the number of free radicals in the body. Vitamin D has a very complex relationship with diabetes, which makes your vitamin D production and intake crucial to your health. It would be impossible for you to measure any sort of imbalance on your own, which is why I urge you to consult a functional medicine practitioner who can help. At our clinic, we use cutting-edge testing that allows us to pinpoint unique imbalances within your body so that we can tailor-make an individualized treatment plan to help you regain control over your health.