What are the benefits of vitamin D for diabetes and health?

Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Vitamin D was always thought of as the vitamin needed for healthy bones, as it's critical to calcium absorption. But now studies are showing that vitamin D also lowers the risk of cancer and diabetes, and this protection starts early in life. A review of the research by scientists at Booth Hall Children's Hospital, in Manchester, UK, found that infants who were supplemented with vitamin D had a 29 percent lower risk for developing type 1 diabetes than those who weren't. And a large-scale U.S. government study found that adolescents with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their bodies were twice as likely to have high blood pressure; more than twice as likely to have high blood sugar; and four times as likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of problems that includes insulin resistance. Another study, this one from Tufts University, concluded that people consuming higher levels of vitamin D and calcium had a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to people consuming low amounts.

The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

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The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

Bob Greene has helped millions of Americans become fit and healthy with his life-changing Best Life plan. Now, for the first time, Oprah's trusted expert on diet and fitness teams up with a leading...
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Scientists continue to discover health benefits for vitamin D, and they now believe that it may play a role in controlling blood sugar. Still, researchers have no proof that boosting levels of vitamin D makes diabetes better or that it stops a person from developing it. What they do know is that people with high levels of this vitamin are less likely to have type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes, your doctor can help you determine whether you might benefit from taking vitamin D supplements.

Low-serum vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of diabetes. In a Finnish study, women with the lowest vitamin D levels were 14 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, while men’s increased risk was double that amount.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.