Vitamin D Decreases Diabetes Risk

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I have written extensively about Vitamin D in the past, particularly in the areas of cancer prevention and cardiovascular disease prevention.  As regular readers of this column already know, Vitamin D, which actually functions more like a hormone than a vitamin, appears to be the only vitamin with clinically significant cancer prevention and cardiovascular disease prevention properties.  Now, a newly published clinical research study suggests that higher levels of Vitamin D in the blood may be associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes.  This new clinical study appears in the current issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.

This new report comes from a large cancer screening trial, the U.S. Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. A total of 2,500 patient volunteers were extensively surveyed and examined, and the following clinical data was collected for all participants: gender, age, geographical location, educational level, smoking history, body mass index (BMI), level of physical activity, and diet (including Vitamin D and calcium intake). Importantly, all of these study participants underwent testing for Vitamin D levels in their blood.

After adjusting for known risk factors associated with developing diabetes (such as BMI, physical activity level, smoking, and total dietary energy intake), the scientists conducting this study found a very strong association between Vitamin D levels in the blood and diabetes risk. In this moderately large clinical research study, the likelihood of having diabetes was more than three times greater among patient volunteers with low levels of Vitamin D (less than 72 pmol/L) when compared with patients who had higher levels of Vitamin D (103 pmol/L or greater).  Once again, this dramatic association between Vitamin D levels in the blood and diabetes risk persisted even after accounting for diabetes risk factors associated with each individual patient volunteer.

The findings of this prospectively conducted clinical research study add considerable weight to previous observations that diabetes is more common in people who live in areas where Vitamin D levels are known to be low throughout the population. Although the mechanism whereby Vitamin D may reduce the risk of diabetes is not known at this time, previous research in laboratory mice has demonstrated that chemical receptors for Vitamin D can be found in the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. This finding, together with an increasing volume of research data linking low Vitamin D levels to a higher risk of developing diabetes, suggests that Vitamin D probably plays a direct role in modulating insulin production by the pancreas, as well as in determining the sensitivity of our bodies to circulating insulin.

For additional evidence-based information on Vitamin D as part of a cancer prevention lifestyle, please click on the following links:

A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race

Vitamin D Significantly Reduces Colorectal Cancer Risk

Vitamin D and Dementia

Breast Cancer Recurrence and Vitamin D

Vitamin D and Falls in the Elderly

Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer Survival

Vitamin and Breast Cancer Risk

Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease

For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!

Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author

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