A vitamin D deficiency may be connected with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
The findings suggest that even at a healthy weight, a vitamin D deficiency could put individuals at risk.
According to the research, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, obese individuals with diabetes had lower levels of vitamin D than the diabetes-free coumterparts, and “vitamin D gene expression was higher in morbidly obese individuals than in those with lower BMIs,” reports U.S. News and World Report. “What’s more, healthy-weight subjects with diabetes were more likely to have significantly low levels of vitamin D compared to normal-weight subjects without the disease, suggesting that vitamin D deficiency may throw off metabolic health all on its own – not just by causing weight gain.”
The study found that vitamin D levels directly correlated with insulin resistance, but not with BMI, “meaning that deficiency can put you at risk for diabetes, even if you’re at a healthy weight,” U.S. News and World Report explained.
“Our study shows that the deficit of vitamin D is associated with diabetes and less with obesity,” study author Manuel Macías-González of Complejo Hospitalario de Málaga (Virgen de la Victoria) and the University of Málaga told the publication. “We believe that vitamin D deficiency could be a new mechanism to promote metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.”
Vitamin D is produced when skin is directly exposed to sunlight for at least several minutes. It’s also found in fatty animal foods including eggs and fish, as well as in fortified foods like milk and cereals or energy bars. If you don’t get enough sun exposure and avoid animal products, it’s recommended to get a vitamin D level test done. While there aren’t telltale signs of a vitamin D deficiency (until it’s quite severe), ensuring healthy vitamin D levels is critical for optimal health.
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