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Adequate Vitamin D and Pre-Diabetes/Seasonality Risk Reduction

 

Two-thirds of the United State's and Australia's population are obese. As we age, commonly we are unaware of the growing risk of pre-diabetes through multiple risk factors.  Sure, we all think that we can - and often are - eat healthily and heartily. To that end, remember that our body-mind connection wants us to be in balance. Let's look at one micronutrient - a vitamin - that can be taken to moderate the risk of diabetes. 

What are the risk factors? Rising BMI (weight-to-height ratio), blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and long-term blood glucose, measured as A1C.   A recent study done in Australia noted that the development of adult onset, or Type 2 Diabetes, has been shown to be linked to inadequate Vitamin D (25, hydroxycholecalciferol) (Poonam, et al, 2017. doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178825). 

What foods and fluids supply Vitamin D? First, it is important to identify good sources of this nutrient. Secondly, let's understand how it functions. Vitamin D is acquired through exposure to sunlight, supplements, and through dietary intake of oily fish (mackerel, sardines, salmon, tuna, caviar, and of course, cod liver oil) and fortified milk, dry breakfast cereals and infant formula.  Key Observation: Vitamin D is in many protein-rich foods.  When diabetes is a chronic disease, it is important to consume protein in all eating occasions: snacks and small meals. Why? Like fats, protein slows the absorption of the ubiquitous carbohydrate/sugars we consume.  Conclusion: practice including protein/Vitamin D sources in your eating occasions makes later working with diabetes easier! 

Interested in how this micronutrient works? Vitamin D must be converted to it's active form in the liver and kidney.  Active forms are referred to as Calcidiol and Calcitriol, as they regulate calcium absorption. These active forms of Vitamin D carefully maintain the levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood for bone mineralization. It also assists in autoimmune health, neuromuscular functions (preventing tetany) and cell growth.    

How much we need each day ranges from 400 to 800 IUs (International Units) and is referred to as the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) intaken from foods.  Some patients may have their serum Vitamin D (25-(OH)D levels checked and then supplemented by their physician to treat seasonal depression, and other concerns listed above (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional). One can by over-the-counter Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) for use up to 2000IU per day, if recommended by a physician in tandem with qualifying lab results.

Why take consume food sources or supplement Vitamin D3, which is what we get from sun exposure?  Most of us do not get this vitamin through our skin due to lack of exposure in nature. 

Besides increasing diabetes risk factors, there is "seasonality", or seasonal depression, which can lead to stress, altered sleep patterns, craving foods high in carbohydrates, and unplanned weight gain that is left unmonitored.  Do you experience any of these symptoms without a second thought? Many reasons for them, including genetics, are offered for the pre-diabetes present and growing in both the USA and Australia.  Have you begun to see the benefits of consuming this vitamin? 

Solutions? Adding two servings of fish each week, three servings of fortified milk or formula, are excellent sources of Vitamin D and protein. Protein also increases alertness and helps our minds focus and muscles grow.  What a great food list from which to choose! The other half of your plate would be fruits and vegetables and 1/4th the plate complex carbohydrates (e.g. potatoes, wild rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal). If recommended, you can also supplement as advised by a professional following your health.

Skills can be developed for choosing a balanced diet, choosing vigorous physical activity, stress awareness, and sleep pattern moderation. You can enjoy the change of seasons in any country with focus on the nutrients in your food and fluids! Consider the "D" Vitamin daily.

 

 

 

 

 

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