The link between vitamin D and diabetes is stronger than previously thought. A study conducted at the University of Málaga, Spain, has concluded that low levels of Vitamin D increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, regardless of body mass index (BMI).

The results also uncovered that vitamin D levels are more closely related to blood sugar levels than to a person’s BMI. Of the nearly 150 subjects observed in the study, 30 were classified as obese and either normoglycemic, pre-diabetic, or diabetic.

We already knew Vitamin D is a great source of calcium, which our bones sorely need. But calcium’s role also includes controlling the release of insulin. Type 2 diabetes destroys insulin-making pancreatic beta cells, which are then attacked by the immune system, and inflammation occurs.

According to Sepalika, “Vitamin D is able to stop this inflammation reaction and the eventual destruction of beta cells. This results in healthy beta cells producing sufficient amounts of insulin to control blood sugar levels.”

The importance of maintaining stable vitamin D levels becomes more crucial at the start of the colder months when there is less opportunity for natural Vitamin D from sun exposure. Fatigue, weakness, and nausea may set in, adding unnecessary struggle to daily living. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to an increase in LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” which could damage cardiovascular health.

Typical foods containing sufficient levels of vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fish (tuna, sardines, mackerel)
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese  

Vegan sources of vitamin D can come from:

  • Fortified non-dairy milks and cereals
  • Certain types of mushrooms
  • Lichen-derived vitamin D3 supplements

If you are diabetic and on a prescribed plan that includes diabetes drugs, consult your physician with regard to your side effects. If you are pre-diabetic, try boosting your vitamin D and talk to a doctor about managing intake levels. The current recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin D3 is 1,000 to 2,000 IU per adult.