Vitamin D deficiency has long been known as a contributing factor to osteoporosis and the risk of bone fractures. But more recently, vitamin D deficiency is also being linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, immune and autoimmune diseases, diabetes and insulin resistance.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in some foods and it is also synthesized when ultraviolet sun rays reach the skin surface. A deficiency may be due to lack of sun exposure, inadequate diet (dietary sources of vitamin D are limited), impaired absorption, increased excretion or aging. Elderly Americans, which includes many patients with Type 2 diabetes, are at risk of developing vitamin D insufficiency. As people age, the skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D from sunlight, and the liver and kidney may have decreased ability to convert vitamin D into the active form.
More and more research is giving us insight into the importance of testing for vitamin D level and addressing deficiencies with supplementation. Adequate vitamin D levels might prevent or delay the onset of diabetes, improve blood sugar control and reduce the serious complications for those who have already been diagnosed. Click here for more information about vitamin D including the updated recommendations and dietary sources.