Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Diabetes Risk

Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Diabetes Risk

Genetic analysis found a relationship between hormone deficiency and chronic inflammation. (Photo: Reproduction)

Vitamin D deficiency has already been linked in several studies to increased risks for bone weakness and dementia. However, the impact could be much broader than imagined, and even extend to a scenario of vulnerability for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases and even some forms of cancer. That’s because all these health problems are linked to chronic inflammation in the body, and a new study, led by researchers at the University of South Australia, found that a lack of the compound is directly related to an ongoing state of inflammation.

Australian scientists have been conducting a series of studies analyzing the impacts of lower than recommended levels of vitamin D with a new technology of genetic analysis. The importance of the compound is because, although called a vitamin, the substance is a hormone that acts in the regulation of calcium and phosphate in the human body.

The new study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, evaluated genetic information from 294,970 participants, available in the UK Biobank database. The researchers found a direct relationship between a low amount of the compound and increased levels of C-reactive protein, a substance that is released by the liver during inflammation and infection.

“Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting tissue if you’ve been injured or have an infection. High levels of C-reactive protein are generated by the liver in response to inflammation, so when your body experiences chronic inflammation, it also has higher amounts of the protein.” in a statement.

Inflammation can be acute, as when the immune system is fighting a disease, or chronic, when other factors cause the body to continue to constantly produce leukocytes and other defense cells. However, when unnecessary, since there is no danger to be fought, and in the long term, this release begins to cause damage to the body.

“This study examined vitamin D and C-reactive protein and found a direct relationship between low levels of the vitamin and high levels of the protein, expressed as inflammation. Boosting vitamin D in people who are deficient in the compound can reduce chronic inflammation, helping them to stave off a large number of related diseases,” says Zhou.

The study’s findings therefore suggest that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D can prevent secondary complications of obesity and reduce the risk or severity of chronic diseases that have an inflammatory component, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and autoimmune diseases, the scientists say.

“We have repeatedly seen evidence for the health benefits of increasing vitamin D concentrations in subjects with very low levels. For others, with the rate already adequate, increasing the levels of the compound appears to offer little or no benefit. The new findings highlight the importance of avoiding vitamin D deficiency.”

To achieve optimal levels of the compound, experts suggest daily exposure to the sun for 15 to 20 minutes, at least three times a week. According to the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabology (SBEM), vitamin D can also be found in foods such as salmon, tuna and sardine oils, egg yolks, liver, milk, yogurt and cheeses. In cases of deficiency, it can be replaced with capsules or tablets indicated by the doctor.

According to a study by researchers from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and the René Rachou Research Institute, from Fiocruz, about 16% of the Brazilian population over 50 years old has insufficient levels of the nutrient.