Let the Sun Shine In

As many of you have recently seen, vitamin D seems to be making a star appearance in the diabetes world. The reason your endocrinologist is now ordering lab tests to measure vitamin D and recommending that you take it is probably a result of this study published in Diabetes Educator. The study states things such as "persons with diabetes are at significant risk for vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. Reasons for this include diet, lack of sun exposure, obesity, renal impairment, and genetic predisposition." It claims that added vitamin D may reduce complications associated with diabetes such as cardiovascular disease. Also, it states that having adequate intake of vitamin D daily may delay the onset of diabetes. What is adequate, you ask? It has not been determined. Do you all remember the blood sugar lowering capabilities of cinnamon? Sound familiar?

If you think I sound skeptical, I am. I was surprised when my endo started recommending that I take 1000mg of vitamin D daily and then followed up to make sure I was taking it. I was also surprised that she ordered labs to confirm. The explanation for this unexpected inclusion into my daily routine was brief. There was this study. You should take vitamin D. It's good for you. You probably don't get enough sun. What? We had never discussed my sun exposure while determining basal rates.

While I respect and trust my endocrinologist and appreciate that she is keeping current with science, I just don't think that vitamin D is really going to decrease the likelihood of complications or delay the onset of diabetes for those of you that don't have it. If I have an A1C of 13.1% and take vitamin D daily, will I decrease the chances of kidney failure? probably not. I don't mean to sound all pessimistic. I'm not saying that's its a BAD thing to take some extra Vitamin D with breakfast. I like a more realistic approach, such as this. I just think that this is a simple solution for such a complicated disease.

For the record: I'm taking vitamin D daily and I top off my oatmeal with cinnamon each morning.

My PCP did the Vit D thing for me. My test came back REALLY low. I was like 9. So she put me on 1000-2000 of however they measure it. Three months later I was up to 37. The deficiency can play a part in control issues, bone issues, and depression. I never get any sun. I’m a desk jockey and pretty pink. If I’m out in the sun, I usually curl up at the edges. I admit that I am feeling better now that the deficiency has been taken care of.

I’ve always heard that diabetes may lessen bone strength from my docs and CDE’s I’ve had in 22 yrs.None of them ever did anything though.I was put on vitamin D by my dentist recently because she said she noticed when I had a tooth that should have been somewhat difficult to remove that my jaw bones are soft, and that it can be a cause of the diabetes. I don’t know if it has a direct effect in staving off complications or lessens the possibility of getting diabetes ,but since I started taking it I noticed my nails are stronger, I generally just feel better, and hopefully it’s strengthening my bones up as well.I don’t think it hurts to take it. I too stay away from the sun.My Irish and Scottish heritage make my skin hate much more than a half hour at a time.lol.

I had a doctor’s appt earlier this week & a Vit D test was ordered along with the usual blood work. I was glad he brought it up because I was planning on requesting one. Nice to not have to argue for a test. I defintely don’t get enough sunlight & after 40 our receptors that convert sunlight aren’t active any more. I’ve been taking D3 for a while, so I’ll see if it’s been sufficient. Some researchers suggest that levels should be brought up to & maintained at 50.

D3 shouldn’t be taken with Vit A or beta carotene supplements–fyi.

Actually epidemiologists took statistical data and came to the conclusion that the risk to develop type 1 diabetes is associated with the longitude on earth he or she is living in. The best explanation is that longitude is associated with the exposure to sunlight and this way to vitamin D production. Studies in Finnland show that vitamin D supplementation is effective to reduce the likelyhood to develop type 1 diabetes in children.

For us type 1 diabetics it is interesting that the vitamin D levels are still falling with age. This is why vitamin D supplementation is recommended for us.

Here is a video about the findings.

As some of you may know, I read about “stuff.” I became interested in my vitamin D levels, but my doctor refused to order the test. Then a year ago, I started with a new endo (Dr. Z), who although he has some serious bad points, ordered a vit D. Despite it being at the end of the summer, and my having a dark tan from all the time outdoors and having supplemented with 2000 IUs/day (5x the RDA) I came back below normal. So today, I supplement with 8000 IUs/ day and have been able to achieve normal levels. Am I better off? Who knows, I am an experiment of 1.

ps. If you do get tested for vit D and are given a prescription for vit D, thrown it in the trash. Prescription vit D is very expensive and it is actually Vit D2 which is not effectives. You want vit D3, get it at costco for real cheap.

I have a bone density test every other year. My endo has me on Caltrate + D but the last bone density showed a 9% loss. While I am still in a normal range, he ordered a Vit D level. Because of my neuropathy I get a regular B12 test, too. I had a non-existant level so I get monthly B12 shots. So, I assume if my vit D comes back low I’ll be on another supplement.

I don’t mind taking the vitamins and supplements but my insurance doesn’t cover any of it. Even the B12 shots. I think insurance companies would save money if they would pay for supplements, vitamins, gym memberships – the maintenance and be healthy costs.

Mosty diabetics bones are leached of needed vitamins and minerals. I found out at 28 years old that i had osteopenia. I do take calcium and vitamin D with of course exercise to increase bone density. Has been some improvement but im sure eventually it will become osteporosis.

I didn’t hear about vitamin D being good for diabetes before! I take it every day since i broke my arm last year i take calcium to, i also put cinnamon into everything i cook! It is nice in oatmeal.
Blackcurrants help control blood glucose levels also and so does peanut butter! i read this in a health magazine.

I do think that Vitamin D is the new cinnamon, oat bran or [insert food/supplement of the month here]. I believe there is value for testing if there are certain risk factors for your own condition and family history. But if not, it is a waste of individuals’ money, taxpayer’s money (in the case of publicly funded health plans). That being said, I do take Vitamin D supplement (2000 mg per day) because my mother has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, so I did have the test, and was shown to be extremely low. My endo ordered the test for this risk factor - not because I was diabetic necessarily - but because I don’t have a regular physician to monitor any other condition that I have. At my next appointment, I will be asking her to monitor whether Vitamin D is actually doing anything for me, or do I need to pursue another avenue to improve my condition. I plan to be a smart consumer patient, and not subscribe to the hype that surrounds this or any other bandwagon. If it’s not doing anything, I’ve better things to spend my hard earned dollars on.

I agree with Jamie – As I said below, we test and then we make decisions. Everybody is different with a different medical history and different paths to follow.

My Vit D3 story : I broke my wrist several years ago ;the Surgeon recommended 1000 UI daily ( my Husband to start taking VIT D 3 as well ; NO risk factors, other than living in a place short of sunshine in winter time ) ; my Specialist recommended I ask my GP to have a bone scan performed ; GP was surprised to learn I have osteoporosis . Specialist also mentioned : at risk : women type 1 diabetes , Caucasian and added women with type 2 diabetes at risk for osteoporosis as well .
Follow up tests have shown : normal amount of Vit. D . I also take Actonel ( weekly ) for the osteoporosis