Most people associate Type 2 Diabetes with weight gain (and often, poor diet and lack of exercise). But at least 10% of people with Type 2 Diabetes, almost 3 million people, aren’t overweight, and according to one study, there’s a strong correlation between their health problems, and a vitamin deficiency.
Specifically, Vitamin D, which you can get from fortified foods, daily multivitamins, and most importantly, sunlight. During the winter, most people’s Vitamin D levels drop. And winter notwithstanding, how much sunshine you need to make enough Vitamin D varies by altitude and latitude, so even if you think you’re spending a good amount of time outdoors, it might not be enough.
According to the study, everyone with Type 2 Diabetes had lower Vitamin D levels than people without Type 2 Diabetes. And among people with diabetes, those who were thinner had the lowest Vitamin D levels.
With every study, there’s some wondering about the chicken and the egg—does Vitamin D deficiency cause diabetes? Does diabetes cause Vitamin D deficiency? Is there a gene that makes you both more likely to be Vitamin D deficient and to have diabetes? And so on.
In this case, the evidence weighs a little more toward Vitamin D levels influencing the development of diabetes. Have low Vitamin D levels is also associated with pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and seems to negatively impact insulin resistance.
Whether you’re a thin or heavy diabetic, it’s a safe bet that you can support your health by getting more Vitamin D in your life. If you don’t want to strap on a bikini and lay in the sun for 20 minutes each day (the base recommendation for getting Vitamin D from sunshine), then you should make sure to eat more Vitamin D rich foods, like fish, dairy, mushrooms, soy & tofu, fortified foods, eggs and meat. Because most people tend toward not getting enough Vitamin D, consider taking a high-quality multivitamin with Vitamin D (high-quality supplements are bioavailable, making them easier on your body and more efficient).
Bonus, Vitamin D helps support a strong immune system, strong bones, proper cell functioning, and more!
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