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Low serum Vitamin D levels may be a predictor of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) complications

Vitamin D is very important for the functioning of our bodies. Considered a fat-soluble steroid hormone and essential for the human body, it is produced by the skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.

In addition to being associated with a longer life, the positive effects of vitamin D go further: it helps with weight loss, strengthens the body's defense system and helps prevent and treat diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

Type 2 diabetes

Much of what is known about the substance's new benefits relates to type 2 diabetes. Research has revealed that low levels of the substance are related to a dysfunction linked to the origin of the disease called insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that allows glucose circulating in the blood to enter the cells. In the case of type 2 diabetes, it is unable to perform its function properly and the result is the accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream, which characterizes the disease.

In order to investigate the relationship between vitamin D and type 2 diabetes, Micah Olson, a scientist at the University of Texas (USA), measured the levels of the vitamin, glucose and insulin in the blood of 411 obese and 87 non-obese children. The obese children with lower levels of the compound had a higher degree of insulin resistance. The researcher concluded that the same thing happens in adults.

Another study, recently published in the journal Diabetes Care, showed that people with a small amount of the substance had 32 times more insulin resistance than the average volunteer.

According to nutritionist Daniela Vicinansa, who specializes in obesity at the Faculty of Biological and Health Sciences in União da Vitória, the main source of vitamin D is sun exposure. This is because only UVB rays are capable of activating the synthesis of this substance, which is important for maintaining bone tissue and the immune system.

A balanced diet rich in healthy foods, adequate sun exposure and regular serum levels are the nutritionist's main tips for avoiding Vitamin D deficits in the body.

Since the main source necessary for the synthesis of Vitamin D is daily exposure to sunlight, doctors are unanimous in recommending: 20 to 30 minutes, daily, without sunscreen. Experts say that the best time for Vitamin D to be synthesized by the body is between ten o'clock in the morning and three o'clock in the afternoon.

To find out if you are getting the right amount of vitamin D, consult your doctor or nutritionist. They will be able to check whether or not you need supplementation through laboratory blood tests.

Research sources:

Istoé Medicine & Wellness
Brazilian Diabetes Society
Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabology




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