Diabetes: The common vitamin deficiency which can increase your risk – symptoms

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There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. The condition is characterised by problems with insulin production. Your body either can’t produce any, it doesn’t produce enough or the insulin produced isn’t effective. When it comes to type 2, poor diet and lifestyle choices are the obvious risk factors; however, a certain vitamin deficiency could play a role as well.

Diabetes already targets more than 4.9 million people in the UK, according to Diabetes UK.

This statistic is set to rise even further, affecting one in 10 by 2030.

One lesser-known risk factor for the blood sugar condition seems to be a vitamin deficiency, according to various studies.

Research published in the Biochemical Journal, reports that vitamin D deficiency has been associated with the onset of diabetes.

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The research explains this link – diabetes starts with the onset of insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance describes the cells in your muscles, fat and liver not responding well to insulin, so they can’t easily take up glucose from your blood.

Pancreatic beta cells (β-cells) can overcome this resistance by releasing more insulin.

However, as this hyperactivity increases, the β-cells eventually experience cell death and the onset of diabetes. 

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When it comes to vitamin D, the deficiency contributes to both the initial insulin resistance as well as the onset of diabetes caused by β-cell death. 

The sunshine vitamin reduces inflammation, which is a “major” part in triggering insulin resistance.

On top of that, it maintains a normal levels of CA2+ and reactive oxygen species that become elevated in the β-cells during diabetes.

And these are not all of the cellular processes the vitamin helps to maintain. 

The research adds: “When Vitamin D is deficient, many of these processes begin to decline and this sets the stage for the onset of diseases such as diabetes.”

Plus, this isn’t the only research looking at the link between the two conditions.

Research from the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases also reports a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and diabetes.

So, how do you spot this deficiency more prevalent during winter?

The warning signs of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Tiredness
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Mood changes.

The reason why this deficiency tends to be more common during winter is because your body might not be able to synthesise enough of this vitamin through direct sunlight, the NHS explains.

The Government recommends looking into supplementing this vitamin from October till April.

Regarding your daily target, adults, and children over the age of one year, need 10 micrograms of vitamin D.

Sources of the vitamin include sunshine, supplements and some foods.



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