Could just supplementing with Vitamin C and Vitamin D reduce the incidence of diabetes by over 50 per cent?
Taking vitamin C tablet twice a day could help more than one million Aussies with type 2 diabetes lower blood sugar levels, according to a Victorian study.
Deakin University researchers found taking two 500mg doses can lower elevated blood sugar levels and reduce blood sugar spikes after meals in people with the potentially fatal disease, the findings published in the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism journal show.
"We found participants had a significant 36 per cent drop in the blood sugar spike after meals. This also meant that they spent almost three hours less per day living in a state of hyperglycaemia," lead researcher and Associate Professor Glenn Wadley said on Monday 11th Feb 2019.
An older study, published in the July 28 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine 2008, researchers collected food questionnaires from over 21,000 subjects. The researchers also measured blood levels of vitamin C in all the participants. The subjects were then followed up for 12 years during which 735 individuals were diagnosed with diabetes (about .4% of the population studied).
There was a significant inverse association between vitamin C levels in the blood and the risk of getting diabetes. In other words those patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin C at the beginning of the study were the least likely to be among those who developed diabetes.
Since vitamin C is often a “marker” for fruit and vegetable intake- after all, we get 90% of our vitamin C from vegetables and fruits- the researchers decided to investigate the effect of fruit and vegetable consumption independently from blood levels of vitamin C. Using the questionnaires, they determined that indeed, fruit and vegetable consumption did protect against diabetes to some degree. But surprisingly, the protection was not nearly as dramatic as the protection obtained by high blood levels of vitamin C. Those who ate the most fruits and vegetables had a 22% reduction in their risk of developing the disease, while those with the most vitamin C in their blood had a 62% reduction.
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 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 in the study, 24 (3.5%) reported using vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D supplementation was found to be associated with lower glucose levels. Also, exposure to the sun also provided the same association, demonstrating that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with high blood glucose levels.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to prediabetes, which is a blood glucose, or sugar, level that is too high but not high enough to be considered diabetes. It is unclear, however, if bringing low vitamin D blood levels to normal through supplementation will affect progression to diabetes.
In the study, every unit increase in vitamin D level after supplementation of the vitamin decreased the risk of progression to diabetes by 8 percent,
Research has also found significant association between low serum levels of 25(OH)vit D and an increase in the incidence of diabetes, CVD and metabolic syndrome. This research examined 28 studies that included 99,745 men and women across a variety of ethnic groups. The studies revealed a significant association between high levels of vitamin D (25(OH)VitD) and a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (33% compared to low levels of vitamin D), type 2 diabetes (55% reduction) and metabolic syndrome (51% reduction)
Type One diabetes and vitamin D
study examines the link in childhood type-1 diabetes and vitamin D supplementation.
A review and meta-analysis of the data from five trials that included 6455 infants, of which 1429 were cases and 5026 controls was published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. The data from the five observational studies, found that infants who received vitamin D supplements were 29 per cent less likely to develop type-1 diabetes than non-supplemented infants
Zipitis C et al. "Vitamin D supplementation in early childhood and risk of type 1 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis" Archives of Disease in Childhood (British Medical Journal) 2007.