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Low Levels of Vitamin D and Minerals Increase Insulin Resistance

Eggs Almonds Kale

 A study published in the Journal of Clinical Diagnostic Research compared the levels of vitamin D3, calcium, and magnesium in diabetic and nondiabetic patients. Researchers examined 30 diabetic patients and 30 matched controls. Glucose, insulin, and vitamin D3 levels were measured using fasting blood samples.1 Compared to vitamin D3 levels (19.55 ng/mL) found in healthy controls, levels (12.29 mg/mL) in the diabetic group were lower. In patients with diabetes, calcium and magnesium levels were low whereas fasting glucose and insulin levels and insulin resistance are high.

Higher insulin levels are expected in individuals with insulin resistance. When cells are insulin resistant, they become ineffective in transporting glucose molecules into cells. Because of this, there’s more glucose circulating in the blood. In the presence of elevated blood glucose, the beta cells of the pancreas work harder to release more insulin. Eventually, the pancreas becomes exhausted and is no longer able to pump out insulin.  Together, elevated blood glucose levels and ineffective pancreatic beta cells lead to type 2 diabetes. Circulating blood glucose levels are associated with many other chronic medical conditions like dementia, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.

Nutrients are required for various functions in cells. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D3 all play important roles in disease prevention and health. When it comes to type 2 diabetes, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium have been associated with supporting glycemic control. The following table highlights the effects of these nutrients and their food sources:

Nutrient Effects on blood glucose control Dietary sources
Vitamin D Supports pancreatic beta cell activityBeta cells possess vitamin D receptors2Animal studies show that missing vitamin D receptors result in poor insulin secretion3 and vitamin D supplementation improves insulin secretion.4 The body’s main source of vitamin D is sunlight; however, with limited sunlight during the winter months in the northern hemisphere, dietary sources are needed to meet the daily requirement of vitamin D:

  • Fish—salmon, tuna, mackerel
  • Dairy—milk and cereal are fortified with vitamin D
  • Eggs
Calcium Insulin release requires calcium.5Patients with type 2 diabetes also have impaired intracellular calcium.6 Opt for soy milk and low-fat or fat-free yogurt and cheese.Many vegetables contain calcium: kale, broccoli, mustard greens, collards, cabbageEat nuts like almonds and Brazil nuts.
Magnesium People with type 2 diabetes tend to have low levels of  magnesium. Increasing magnesium levels protect against type 2 diabetes.7 Foods rich in magnesium include whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.

Refined sugars are a real threat to our health. Americans consume too much sugar, which leads to diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Chronic inflammation is associated with processed sugars that destroy healthy tissues and activates molecules in the body to promote disease. Poor diet, as well as lifestyle choices and environmental exposure, is linked to disease. And medications alone, simply, cannot change our health for the better. Medications mostly mask symptoms without addressing the underlying imbalances that cause disease. Eating foods that are nutrient-rich and contain bioactive molecules known to regulate glucose control is crucial to health and wellness. In my forthcoming book, The Gene Therapy Plan: Taking Control of Your Genetic Destiny with Diet and Lifestyle, I recommend foods that contain nutrients that balance glucose to prevent diabetes.

 

References:

  1. Gandhe MB, Jain K, Gandhe SM. Evaluation of 25 (OH) Vitamin D3 with Reference to Magnesium Status and Insulin Resistance in T2DM. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR. 2013;7(11):2438.
  2. Johnson JA, Grande JP, Roche PC, Kumar R. Immunohistochemical localization of the 1, 25 (OH) 2D3 receptor and calbindin D28k in human and rat pancreas. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism. 1994;267(3):E356-E360.
  3. Zeitz U, Weber K, Soegiarto DW, Wolf E, Balling R, Erben RG. Impaired insulin secretory capacity in mice lacking a functional vitamin D receptor. The FASEB Journal. 2003;17(3):509-511.
  4. Clark SA, Stumpf WE, Sar M. Effect of 1, 25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 on insulin secretion. Diabetes. 1981;30(5):382-386.
  5. Milner R, Hales C. The role of calcium and magnesium in insulin secretion from rabbit pancreas studied in vitro. Diabetologia. 1967;3(1):47-49.
  6. Levy J. Abnormal cell calcium homeostasis in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Endocrine. 1999;10(1):1-6.
  7. Sales CH, Pedrosa LFC, Lima JG, Lemos TMAM, Colli C. Influence of magnesium status and magnesium intake on the blood glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Clinical Nutrition. 2011;30(3):359-364.