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Study Finds Vitamin D May Help with Reversing Pre Diabetes

Jacky Gale | April 1st, 2013

Diabetic Diet

Reversing pre diabetes is possible with a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, and doing so will help lower your risk of a range of medical complications, from peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) to nephropathy (kidney damage). If you’re already following a diabetic diet, you probably know to choose whole grains to control blood sugar levels. But did you know that a key vitamin might also help you manage blood glucose levels? Researchers have linked the intake of a high dose of vitamin D to a significant reduction in diabetes risk factors, like the amount of insulin in the bloodstream.

Role of vitamin D in reversing pre diabetes

Catherine Peterson, an associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri, and her colleagues published their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. They examined 35 children and adolescents who were obese and pre-diabetic. To control the variable factors of the study, all of the study participants had comparable diets and activity levels. They also all had low levels of vitamin D or were considered to be vitamin D deficient.

Some of the study participants took a placebo, while others took a high dose of vitamin D. None of the study participants altered their typical dietary patterns or activity levels. After six months, Peterson and her colleagues found that the participants who took vitamin D showed signs of successfully reversing pre diabetes as indicated by the patients’  lowered glucose levels.

Vitamin D warning

Despite their findings, the researchers wished to remind parents to always consult a pediatrician before administering vitamin D supplements. In this case, the dosage used in the study was in fact higher than the average recommended dose.

Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder of the Center for Medical Weight Loss, concurs with the researchers’ warnings. “The use of vitamin D supplements to combat pre diabetes is an interesting prospect. However, patients should only undertake this sort of treatment under the supervision of a doctor.” The Center for Medical Weight Loss is among the largest networks of weight loss physicians in the country. By incorporating the latest medical breakthroughs with old fashion diet and exercise, physicians help patients manage and even reverse pre diabetic diagnoses every day.

Obesity increases risk of vitamin D deficiency

Peterson’s team of researchers also noted that obesity itself predisposes one to vitamin D deficiency. In obese individuals, the body stores vitamin D in fat tissues, which decreases the bioavailability and prevents proper processing of the vitamin. Peterson noted that those who are significantly overweight should have double the vitamin D intake of a peer of a normal weight.

Other factors can also contribute to a vitamin D deficiency. Many children play inside with videogames and other electronic devices, which decreases their exposure to sunlight, a critical factor in vitamin D production in the body. Children and adolescents who are overweight or obese may also not be as likely to follow a well-balanced meal plan, complete with dietary sources of vitamin D.

Increasing vitamin D intake on a diabetic diet

In addition to exploring the possibility of vitamin D supplementation under the guidance of a physician, parents of overweight children can encourage outdoor activity to increase sunlight exposure and reduce diabetes risk factors. A healthy diet that includes food sources of vitamin D can also play a critical role in reversing pre diabetes. Some dietary sources include:

  • Oily fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Mushrooms
  • Vitamin D-fortified dairy products (choose low-fat products)
  • Vitamin D-fortified breakfast cereals (choose low-sugar and whole grain products)

Boosting a child’s vitamin D intake can not only aid in reversing pre diabetes, but it also offers other health benefits. Vitamin D helps strengthen bones by encouraging the body’s absorption of calcium, which is particularly important for a growing child. Vitamin D also supports the immune system and healthy nerve function.

To learn more about reversing pre diabetes or talk with a weight loss physician at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, check out their website at Or find out if there is a Center in your area by entering your zip code above. Special offers may be available to first time callers.