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Natural Awakenings

The “It” Nutrient: Vitamin D Promises Health Benefits

Jun 01, 2009 03:00AM

Vitamin D is quickly becoming the “It” nutrient of our time, promising health benefits for chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and now, diabetes. Researchers from Loyola University Chicago’s Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing recently reported that vitamin D may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and reduce complications for those diagnosed with the disease. In those suffering from diabetes, vitamin D is crucial in preventing and managing glucose intolerance, because it plays an integral role in insulin sensitivity and secretion.

Many of the 23 million Americans with diabetes have low vitamin D levels, which results in part from poor nutrition, one of their biggest challenges. Another culprit is reduced exposure to sunlight.

To control blood sugar and prevent complications from diabetes, vitamin D may be a simple and cost-effective treatment, say the researchers. They suggest a combination of dietary sources of the vitamin, reasonable exposure to sunlight and perhaps vitamin D supplements, based on the advice of an integrative physician.

Source: Loyola University Health System, 2009

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