Vitamin D Delays Progression of Diabetes

Guest article by John Cannell, MD, president of the Vitamin D Council

Diabetes mellitus type 2, or adult-onset diabetes, is epidemic, according to the CDC. It is a disease of high blood sugar with insulin resistance or insulin deficiency. Insulin resistance is what it sounds like. The cells are resistant to the action of insulin, and insulin resistance often leads to adult diabetes. However, adult diabetes is no longer a useful term. Since the sun-scare, adult-onset diabetes is often diagnosed in children. Frequently, but not always, it is a disease of the obese. Exercise and diet helps.

  • In 2003, about 130 million people in the world had type 2 diabetes.
  • In the United States, 8% of the population has type 2 diabetes.
  • The disease doubled between 1990 and 2005 thanks to sun-scare, soda, and obesity.

How many times have you heard that we need randomized controlled trials before we start taking vitamin D? Well, they are coming fast and furious. This August, researchers at Tufts University released a double blind randomized controlled trial that showed  2,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 had a major effect on insulin resistance.

I liked what the authors said, “These results suggested that vitamin D may have a role in delaying the progression to clinical diabetes in adults at high risk of type 2 diabetes. …”

Two thousand IUs per day for 4 months only increased 25(OH)D levels from  24 to 30 ng/ml.

Why such a small increase in 25(OH)D?

The average subject weighed 223 pounds, that’s why.

This is good proof that the FNB was wrong when they said 20 ng/ml is as good as it gets.

Remember the recent Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) said that levels of 20 ng/ml are just fine, do not expect any improvements with levels higher than 20 ng/ml.

Keep in mind the NIH, especially the Office of Dietary Supplements, are against, not for, dietary supplements. They are especially sensitive to anyone implying the FNB study they helped fund is working against what they set to accomplish: to better the health and lives of individuals.

The authors failed to write even a sentence about dose, and I assume it is because Tufts University wants some more NIH grants.

If going from 24 to 30 ng/ml showed such an improvement in insulin sensitivity, the obvious question is what would going from 24 to 40 ng/ml do?

I don’t think the authors wanted to embarrass the FNB anymore than their findings already did.

Dr. Jonny Comments:

Dr. Conell is pointing out something we’ve been saying for years: “adequate” nutrition is not the same as “optimal” nutrition. All the hooplah from the anti-supplement forces claiming that we need “only” 600 IUs a day of vitamin D is based on a very narrow reading of the research that speaks only and specifically about bone health and not the 100 other conditions that vitamin D can impact. Here’s one small example of the many ways vitamin D has a significant benefit that goes way beyond strong bones, and to get that benefit you need a heck of a lot more than the paultry 600 IUs the FNB solemnly declared was “all we need”.

The columnist and commentator George Will once said something very amusing but very true. He said he had three major rules (to which I am going to add another). Will’s three “rules for life” were:

1. Don’t play poker with a man named Slim

2. Don’t take financial advice from a guy who’s yelling

3. Don’t buy a Rolex from a man who’s running.

To which I’d add:

4. Don’t take your nutritional advice from the Government. Really.