Vitamin D and Diabetes
Renewed interest in vitamin D, the so-called “sunshine vitamin,” has occurred recently because it has been linked to everything from cancer and heart disease to diabetes.1 Research studies continue to pour into the literature stating that vitamin D is a superstar when it comes to health. However, most of the research is based on observational, epidemiological studies, which are important for generating hypotheses but do not prove causality.
A PubMed search in 2011 using the term “vitamin D” and selecting articles published in the past 2 years resulted in more than 2,864 hits. The following diseases and conditions have been researched to assess their relationship with vitamin D status: osteomalacia/osteoporosis,2–5 muscle function and falls,6–8 cancer,9–14 multiple sclerosis,15 hypertension,16 type 1 diabetes,17 rheumatoid arthritis,18 tuberculosis,19,20 mental health,21 cardiovascular events,22,23 infection,24,25 seasonal affective disorder,26 obesity,27 aging,28 and overall mortality.23
The challenge for health care providers and nutrition researchers is to determine whether vitamin D deficiency actually causes or increases the incidence of certain diseases or whether, instead, low levels of vitamin D are simply coincidental given that the majority of the general population, regardless of disease, is likely to have insufficient levels of vitamin D. In other words, do people who develop disease states just happen to be deficient in vitamin D, or do low levels of vitamin D cause the disease? Will supplementation with vitamin D prevent diseases, and can it be us Continue reading