People with poor weight control are more likely to develop prediabetes. But even though you have prediabetes, you don’t have to lose sleep over it. Prediabetes is not life-threatening but can be rather stressful because of the ability to restrict your lifestyle. You will not be able to attend all the enjoyable activities that others do because of it or sporting events because of the need for higher doses of insulin. And if you suffer from frequent infections because of poor immune system, prediabetes can restrict your ability to combat diseases like HIV and pneumonia.
For decades, physicians had no cure for the primary cause of diabetes – high blood sugar or diabetes – other than to cut off the diet of those at risk and track those with type 2 diabetes to try to keep their blood sugar under control. Newer approaches to diabetes include managing the risk factors and keeping the glucose levels under control, while diet tends to make the body produce more insulin to transfer the sugar into cells. This strategy has the potential to greatly change the lives of people with prediabetes, and those at risk for other severe diseases, such as heart disease. It would also save them money over the long run.
A Series of Studies
One study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, researchers examined whether taking a prescription Vitamin D supplement may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a broad study of elderly individuals. In this analysis, the findings were surprising. Those who took the Vitamin D in the amounts prescribed by the American Diabetes Association were less likely to develop diabetes, even though they already had the disease.
In another recent study published in the June issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School found that elderly people who supplemented with vitamin D at an early age were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes within a five-year period. Vitamin D is essential for blood sugar regulation. People with prediabetes who supplementing with at least 1000 units a day of vitamin D were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they retained their blood sugar regulation after the five-year interval.
Vitamin D is not a vitamin that is produced in nature. It is synthesized by the body in the skin as sunlight is absorbed. This allows the body to produce a sufficient amount of the vitamin D that is required to maintain the correct glucose levels in the blood stream. Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and many forms of cancer. The new research provides the first evidence that supplementation of vitamin D can help to prevent type 2 diabetes and likely help to prevent certain forms of cancer as well.
Why did the researchers see an improvement in diabetes risk among those who raised Vitamin D intake? The solution lies in the essence of diabetes, which requires cells that require a constant amount of glucose to function properly. When they are healthy, cells generate their own insulin, which is required to transfer glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. But when unhealthy, cells cannot secrete insulin at all, which leads to unnecessary glucose building up in the blood and increasing the risk of a glucose overdose and a return to type 2 diabetes. The Vitamin D supplements the study tested worked by increasing levels of circulating Vitamin D.
The findings indicate that the risks of prediabetes may be decreased by taking supplements of Vitamin D. This is especially noteworthy because vitamin D deficiency is a well-known risk factor for type 2 diabetes, the clinical manifestation of which is heart disease. It also indicates that, in addition to drugs, other steps may be appropriate to avoid diabetes. In addition to Vitamin D, experts have identified many other nutrients that allow the body to absorb glucose. Therefore, it is not mere chance that people with prediabetes are more likely than others to develop type 2 diabetes; the body needs support, and it may be the answer to the question: what can I do to avoid getting prediabetes?
Aside from Vitamin D supplements, there are many other foods rich in carbohydrates that increase glucose levels, such as white bread, rice, and some vegetables. Eating these foods in moderation can help people who have prediabetes lower their blood glucose levels enough to prevent the risks of serious medical conditions such as stroke, diabetes, or heart disease. However, there is still no cure for the hereditary predisposition to prediabetes, and no assurance that the signs will not manifest. The findings of the current clinical research, while promising, are only preliminary, and further studies are certainly needed to verify the benefits of vitamin D for those with prediabetes.