Type 2 Diabetes – The Effect Of Low Levels of Vitamin D On Arteries In People With Diabetes
Type 2 diabetics tend to have low levels of vitamin D. According to an article published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, October 2011, that deficiency could have serious consequences for the heart and arteries of people with Type 2 diabetes.
The study, conducted at The Catholic University of Korea in Seoul, included 305 people 30 years of age or older diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Almost 86 per cent suffered a vitamin D deficiency. Those with the lowest levels of vitamin D showed stiffness of their arteries. The investigators concluded that a vitamin D deficiency could be involved in the heart and blood vessel disease seen in Type 2 diabetics.
How vitamin D might function in keeping the blood vessels supple remains a question for further research to answer. It is known to help regulate calcium circulating through the blood vessels and in keeping a balance of minerals between the bones and the rest of the body. It is also involved in cell growth, reduces inflammation, plays a role in the interactions of nerves and muscles, and helps the immune system to fight disease.
Diabetics are at high risk for:
coronary artery disease,
high blood sugar,
peripheral artery disease,
all related to unhealthy arteries.
Two thirds of diabetics die from heart disease and stroke. The American Diabetes Association recommends adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, keeping blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control. And don’t forget the vitamin D.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends a dietary allowance of 600 International Units (IU) or 15 micrograms per day of vitamin D for adults. The normal blood level of vitamin D is from 20 to 50 nanograms per milliliter.
Just so you know, some of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
In most people, the majority of their vitamin D supply is made when their skin is exposed to sunlight, then stored in fats and released as needed. Sunscreens, although important for preventing skin cancer, can also prevent vitamin D from being made… so 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure per day without a sunscreen with a SPF rating higher than 8, is a good idea. The vitamin can also be obtained in cereals, soy milk, rice milk, and fruit juices fortified with vitamin D and in supplements.
One cup of fortified soy milk provides 114 IU of vitamin D, and a cup of fortified orange juice provides 142 IU. The best kind of soy milk is the unflavored kind, because it has a lower sugar content. Check the labels on commercial cereals since they vary widely as to how much vitamin D they contain. Avoid those that list refined sugars or fats. Most multivitamin supplements have 400 IU, or two-thirds the recommended daily allowance.
If pouring soy milk over breakfast cereal doesn’t sound too interesting, try making smoothies with soy milk for a yummy way of getting some vitamin D. Smoothie.com recommends making a smoothie with plain soy milk, strawberries or raspberries, artificial sweetener, banana, and vanilla or almond extract. Everyday-vegetarian-recipes.com has a recipe for a soymilk blueberry smoothie that also includes soy yogurt, banana, psyllium powder, and a little honey or agave syrup.
Beverleigh Piepers is the author of this article.