Well finally I am answering Zade’s request to research the connection if any between vitamin D3 and diabetes mellitus. I will refer to diabetes mellitus from here on out simply as diabetes to save space. First diabetes and some background information.
There are two types of diabetes type I and type II. Also, there is what is gestational diabetes which occurs in some pregnant women. Diabetes effects approximately 9% of adults in United States and is reported to cause 3-5 million deaths a year. 1
So, a significant problem and growing. As shown by the worldwide incidence increasing from 108 million in 1980. 2 To the latest numbers showing 425 million suffering from it in 2017. 3 Like all components of what I call winter syndrome, diabetes rate is going up as people’s vitamin D3 blood levels are dropping.
However, in promoting vitamin D3 I don’t want to be like the crazy grandfather in my Big Greek Wedding who uses Windex on everything. However, if your sleep, immune system and metabolism are not balanced then the other systems in your body will suffer.
So here I will focus on the two main types of diabetes type I and II. The other types of diabetes like gestational diabetes and type III I believe should respond to vitamin D3, but as always discuss with your doctor before making any changes.
So, type I or what is also called juvenile onset diabetes typically occurs at an early age and makes up around 10% of the cases. 4 It is thought to be initiated by a viral infection. This infection eventually resulting in an autoimmune damage or destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas.
Type two is the type that typically occurs later in life due to altered metabolism. To digress in order to give a short overview to better explain these diseases. The beta cells in our pancreas is the part of this gland in our body that secretes insulin. Insulin is considered the main anabolic hormone of the body. 5
In muscle cells insulin increases sugar absorption to use as energy. When there is excess sugar, like after a large meal of carbohydrates Insulin acts on the liver to store sugar in the form of glycogen. Glycogen which is essentially densely packed sugars.
Sugars to be released when the body needs energy quickly. Sugars are easier for the body to quickly and efficiently convert to energy then say fats. Then once glycogen levels in the liver increases above 5% the liver then switches to forming fatty acids from the excess sugars in the blood.
While forming fatty acids in the liver insulin also acts on adipose cells-fat cells, there increasing sugar absorption. There it converts excess sugars to glycerol. Then the glycerol and fatty acids in adipose cells are combined to form triglycerides-fat.
In this way insulin lowers excess sugar in our blood to maintain normal blood sugar levels. It is also why it is called fat sparing. Basically, feeding cells with sugar instead of fat for energy while converting excess sugar into energy stores-glycogen and then fat.
In doing this It maintains our blood sugar levels below the upper number of the normal range. Fat being better suited for long term storage of energy as less dense though taking longer to be released and metabolized to generate energy but having three time the energy per weight of sugar.
Typically, the normal range blood sugar range is between 60-110 mg/dl or so. As too high or too low of blood sugar levels in the can cause issues. Short term to low and as our brain runs primarily on sugar we pass out or die a too high it shifts fluid from cells to the blood.
Long term too high artery damage leading to organ damage and eventually death. Insulin is the body’s chief hormone to lower blood sugar levels and to maintain it in the normal range. There are other hormones the body releases to raise blood sugar levels.
But that is beyond this discussion as focusing on diabetes. The point is in a healthy person the body through the use of insulin does a good job of preventing elevated blood levels of sugars and converting excess sugars into fats for later use.
- International Diabetes Federation (2017). IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edn.
- Bullard KM, Cowie CC, Lessem SE, et al. (2018) Prevalence of diagnosis diabetes in adults by diabetes type-United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly REP. 67:359-361.
- Voet D, Voet JG. (2011). Biochemistry (4th edition). New York:Whiley.
*The information posted above is for educational purposes only. Always check with your doctor before initiating any changes in your medical treatment. If you do not, then The Two-Minute Health Fact, Dr. Judson Somerville, nor The Optimal Dose is responsible!