Vitamin D is very essential for the human body. Its deficiency has for long been associated with cancer, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis. Vitamin D is technically not a vitamin at all. It is a steroid hormone. It literally has an impact on every cell in the human body. It is crucial for the brain, heart and the immune system.
Vitamin D and Diabetes
Recent studies have now shone new light on the benefits of Vitamin D. Its deficiency is now linked to diabetes. It is said to be an even more decisive factor than obesity. A study which included a sample of over 100 people has shown that those with low Vitamin D levels are more prone to have type 3 diabetes, metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes irrespective of whether they are obese or not.
The study also looked into people who were obese and those without metabolic disorders. The study revealed that those with high Vitamin D levels had no metabolic disorders, while those with lower levels of Vitamin D suffered with metabolic disorders. With respect to lean people, those with lower Vitamin D levels also suffered with metabolic disorders.
According to the recent studies, Vitamin D is more closely associated with glucose metabolism. Vitamin D deficiency along with obesity poses greater risk of metabolic disorders, mainly diabetes.
A study conducted in India showed that Vitamin D can play an important role in diabetes prevention. Vitamin D along with calcium supplementation and exercised prevents the progression of pre-diabetes into full-blown diabetes. Every unit of Vitamin D increase brought down the progression of pre-diabetes into diabetes by eight percent.
Vitamin D and Dementia
Vitamin D also plays a role in preventing dementia. A study conducted by an international team of over 1,600 seniors clearly established a connection between Vitamin D deficiency and dementia. It was observed that seniors deficient of Vitamin D were two times more vulnerable of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those with adequate Vitamin D levels. Greater the deficiency of Vitamin D, greater is the risk of developing dementia. For example, the risk of developing dementia was 125% greater in those with severe deficiency and 53% greater in those with mild deficiency.
It is to be noted that a connection has been established between Vitamin D deficiency and dementia, but there is not enough evidence to suggest that Vitamin D deficiency causes dementia. More studies are required to conclusively suggest the adequate levels of Vitamin D required delaying, treating or preventing dementia.
How to Get Vitamin D
The best source of Vitamin D is the sun. Our skin is capable of producing Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. The ability of the skin to efficiently produce Vitamin D decreases with age. Hence, with age consumption of Vitamin D must be increased. Some good sources of Vitamin D are salmon, tuna, yogurt, orange juice, cod liver oil and beef liver.
Also it is beneficial to regularly check for Vitamin D levels in the body. The Vitamin D levels in the body is revealed by a simple test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D.
It is always better to prevent a disease than cure it. Hence, it is beneficial to consume necessary amounts Vitamin D.