The benefits of vitamin D in promoting bone health are already well known. A new study out of Brazil suggests that vitamin D also may promote greater insulin sensitivity, thus lowering glucose levels and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
Other recent studies have shown a clear relationship between vitamin D and glycemic control, suggesting that vitamin D increases insulin sensitivity and improves pancreatic beta-cell function. In this cross-sectional study involving 680 Brazilian women aged 35 to 74 years, the goal was to evaluate the possible association between vitamin D deficiency and increased glycemia.
Of the women interviewed, 24 (3.5%) reported using vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D supplementation was found to be negatively associated with high glucose levels. Habitual exposure to the sun also provided the same association, demonstrating that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with high blood glucose levels.
Study results appear in the article "Higher serum levels of vitamin D are associated with lower blood glucose levels."
"Although a causal relationship has not been proven, low levels of vitamin D may play a significant role in type 2 diabetes mellitus," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. "Vitamin D supplementation may help improve blood sugar control, but intervention studies are still needed."