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Many commentators claim that curing Type 2 diabetes could be as simple as taking a vitamin D capsule every day. But what does vitamin D really have to do with blood sugar control in Type 2 diabetes?

Several studies have found that people who have Type 2 diabetes have, on average, lower concentrations of vitamin D in their bloodstream. What these studies do not show is whether lower levels of vitamin D might cause Type 2 diabetes or perhaps Type 2 diabetes causes lower levels of vitamin D.

Scientists know that vitamin D activates the gene that makes the proteins that enable the cell to respond to insulin. Vitamin D also activates a gene called PPAR-gamma, the same gene that is stimulated by drugs in the TZD class, such as Actos and Avandia. Taking more vitamin D, however, does not necessarily increase the activity of these genes.

That is because the problem may not be a deficiency of vitamin D, but the lack of receptors to attract vitamin D to be absorbed into the cell. Also, vitamin D works in tandem with calcium. Vitamin D helps calcium flow into your beta cells in the pancreas, stimulating them to release insulin. If there isn’t enough calcium, or if the cell cannot respond to calcium, then vitamin D may not help.

And sometimes there are other factors that scientists have yet to identify:

  • morbidly obese Caucasian women, for instance, don’t respond to vitamin D, even after they have had gastric bypass surgery
  • moderately overweight Caucasian women with Type 2 diabetes, however, do
  • Finnish men with the highest vitamin D levels have the lowest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes

Vitamin D levels in Mexican-Americans and in persons of South Asian or African descent, however, is unrelated to blood sugar control
even among persons of European descent, certain genes make diabetics very responsive to vitamin D while diabetics who have other genes do not respond to vitamin D at all.

Although evidence suggests that vitamin D plays a role in insulin sensitivity, vitamin D deficiency in part results from poor nutrition. Vitamin D is also produced as a result of your skin being exposed to sunlight. It helps you absorb calcium, among other functions such as helping to enable the cell to respond to insulin. It is often advised you spend 15 to 20 minutes outdoors each day to gain the benefit of sun exposure.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be that fortunate diabetic who responds very well to taking vitamin D supplements daily. Just don’t rely on vitamin D as a cure for Type 2 diabetes.



Type 2 diabetes causes almost no pain or discomfort and yet has profound effects on most of the body. Type 2 is invisible, a chronic disease that does not go away…it damages the blood vessels and changes the blood chemistry; it reaches every organ. One good reason for preventing or controlling diabetes has to do with hip fractures.

Researchers in the Yoo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, looked at diabetes and the risk of hip fractures in a study reported in the journal Diabetes Care, May 2010. Over 60,000 volunteers were followed for an average of 12 years. Diabetics had almost twice the risk of hip fractures as non-diabetics.

The results were consistent with those of another study published in the Journal of Gerontology, Biological Science and Medical Science, published in 2002. Workers at the School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Texas at Galveston, looked at 3050 people over 65 years old. They were followed up for 7 years. The risk of hip fractures for those volunteers with diabetes was more than one and a half times higher than for non-diabetics.

Hip fractures can have severe consequences, including death. Surgical repair is usually highly effective, but major surgery carries its own risks, particularly in people over 65. Immobility after surgery can lead to pneumonia, skin infections, and heart disease. If you are diabetic, consider eliminating all the modifiable risk factors for broken hips.

One such factor is osteoporosis. As we age there is a tendency for the bones to lose calcium, making them weak and susceptible to fractures. If we don’t have enough calcium and vitamin D to begin with, we are candidates for osteoporosis. One of the best ways to get enough calcium is through vegetables such as broccoli and turnip greens. Milk and milk products are not the best because their high protein content can interfere with calcium’s absorption.

And speaking of absorption, be sure to get enough sunlight to make vitamin D. This does not mean that you need to sunbathe for hours and risk skin cancer, but make a point of going for a walk every day. That will not only get you some sunlight, enabling your body to make vitamin D, but the weight-bearing you do while walking will help your bones to absorb the calcium.

It has been found women with type 2 diabetes and poor blood sugar control can suffer greater levels of bone loss than normal, and they are 1.7 times more likely to develop hip fractures. Controlling blood sugar, coupled with weight-bearing exercise and calcium supplements, may reduce the bone loss of osteoporosis.

Astronauts in space found that they were losing calcium from their bones despite an adequate diet, because they were weightless.

Smoking and consuming excess alcohol can also prevent your bones from taking in calcium, so if you smoke, it sounds like a good time to stop.

Ask your doctor if he or she thinks that testing for osteoporosis is warranted in your case. The tests are simple and painless.



Understanding the glycemic index and how it affects your blood sugar may help you gain control of your blood sugar and help you make better food choices. If you are currently dealing with blood sugar problems or are diabetic you have probably heard the term glycemic index tossed around. Using this index can also reduce your risk of heart problems, promote weight loss, and improve cholesterol levels. Knowing what to eat using the glycemic index will help you take charge of your health.

The glycemic index is a method that ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on blood sugar levels. It has long been known that eating various carbohydrates have different consequences on our health. The glucose level in our bloodstream increases when we eat carbohydrates, especially things like processed sugar and high starch foods. What is just now coming to light is how eating certain good carbohydrates can actually keep blood sugar levels constant.

The key to using the glycemic index is learning how to exchange low glycemic index carbohydrates for those high index ones. It is not really complicated once you discover what works best for your body. Switching from highly processed grains is a good place to begin. Eating whole grains such as oats, bran and barley is important. Reduce the amount of starchy foods you eat, especially potatoes.

Increase your intake of things such as pasta and noodles. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Salad is a great option but make sure you use salad dressings such as vinegar and oil or vinaigrette’s instead of the high calorie dressings. Fresh fruits can satisfy those cravings for sugar in a natural way that doesn’t raise your blood sugar to dangerous levels.

Eating low glycemic foods helps you stay fuller longer and reduces hunger. Because you are full longer, you eat less. This will result in weight loss. Weight loss is often extremely difficult for diabetics because of the medications they take. By eating less, losing weight and keeping blood sugar levels constant the need for medications sometimes decreases. Even if you are not able to lose weight or lower your use of medications, eating a healthy diet has positive health benefits.

Taking control of your health through use of the glycemic index is an easy way to improve your health. With a little education and proper shopping methods you can be on your way to improving your health. Do some research and see if the glycemic index might work for you.

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