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Vitamin D Deficiency & High Blood Sugars

author image Caterina Nelson
Caterina Nelson has been writing since 1995. Her work has appeared on eHow and in legal publications including the "American Health Lawyer" and the American Bar Association Antitrust Section newsletters. Nelson has a Master of Arts in economics from the University of Delaware and a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Vitamin D Deficiency & High Blood Sugars
Sunlight--the primary source of Vitamin D Photo Credit: Yasuko Aoki/amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images

According to, normal fasting blood sugar levels are between 70 and 99 mg/dL; fasting blood sugar levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL are classified as pre-diabetes; and fasting blood sugar levels over 126 on two consecutive tests are consistent with a diagnosis of diabetes. High blood sugar levels occur when normal transport of sugar into the body's cells, which is regulated by the hormone insulin, is compromised. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin primarily associated with maintenance of normal calcium metabolism.

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There are three forms of diabetes mellitus, all of which affect how your body processes glucose. Type I diabetes, which used to be called "juvenile" or "insulin-dependent" diabetes, is a disease that results from the inability of the cells of the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin. Type II diabetes, which used to be called "adult-onset" or "non-insulin-dependent" diabetes, is a disease that results from either an underproduction of insulin or a reduced response to insulin. Finally, gestational diabetes is a complication of pregnancy and generally resolves when the baby is delivered.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is produced in the skin of animals, including humans, when they are exposed to light. Vitamin D is essential in the absorption of calcium in the gut, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, which also reports that vitamin D is now thought to play a role in the prevention of type I and type II diabetes and glucose intolerance, among other conditions.

Vitamin D and Diabetes: The Scientific Evidence

A study by Hyppönen, et al., published in the November 2001 issue of "Lancet," showed that supplementation of vitamin D in infants reduced the incidence of type I diabetes. Pittas, et al., reported results from the longitudinal Nurses Study that showed a 33 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes for women with a combined intake of over 1200 mg calcium and over 800 IU vitamin D compared to women with a combined intake of less than 600 mg calcium and less than 400 IU of vitamin D in the March 2006 issue of "Diabetes Care."

Vitamin D Deficiency and Glucose Intolerance

Chiu, et al., studied the effect of hypovitaminosis D, or vitamin D deficiency, on glucose tolerance and reported their findings in the May 2004 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." They found that subjects with a vitamin D deficiency are at higher risk of glucose intolerance and metabolic syndrome.

Other Uses of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and for maintaining appropriate blood calcium levels. It is also essential for bone growth and bone remodeling, which is the steady-state formation and resorption of bone material. A deficiency of vitamin D in infants is associated with rickets, and vitamin D deficiency in adults can be associated with osteoporosis.

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  • Diabetes
  • Oregon State University: Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin D
  • "Lancet"; Intake of Vitamin D and Risk of Type 1 Diabetes: a Birth-cohort Study; Hyppönen, et al., November 2001
  • "Diabetes Care"; Vitamin D and Calcium Intake in Relation to Type 2 Diabetes in Women; Pittas, et al., March 2006
  • "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Hypovitaminosis D is Associated With Insulin Resistance and Beta Cell Dysfunction; Chiu, et al.; May 2004
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