High Vitamin D Levels Protect Against Type 2 Diabetes

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Is there anything that optimal vitamin D doesn’t help?  A new study shows that high levels of vitamin D offered protection against developing type 2 diabetes.

Spanish researchers evaluated the vitamin D status in 1,226 individuals in 1996.  At that time 12.4 percent of those with low vitamin D had type 2 diabetes.  Those with the lowest vitamin D, scores less than 18.5 ng/mL, had a 12.4 percent rate of type 2 diabetes.  Those above that score had a 4 percent rate.

Most of these individuals were retested in 2004, along with taking glucose tolerance tests.  Those with vitamin D above 18.5 ng/mL had an 83 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the follow-up time period.  Amazingly, no one in the study with a vitamin D score over 30 ng/mL developed type 2 diabetes.

That is amazing because 30 ng/mL is considered the very low end of normal and not adequate for optimal vitamin D status.  Yet, it was good enough in this study that not a single person spiraled into the metabolic decline of type 2 diabetes.  When we consider that there is an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in Americans today, maybe it is time public health officials should get on the same page as basic science.

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