Diabetes, Vitamin D & Calcium

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Combinational supplements of vitamin D and calcium may help improve blood-sugar level and insulin performance. In addition, it is associated with reduced risk for diabetes type 2.

Sun exposure is a tricky feeling, but too little can be a problem. That is because sunshine stimulates skin cells to produce vitamin D; you need vitamin D for Calcium absorption a substance that keeps bones strong and help to warding off a variety of other ailments.

The body needs vitamin D for proper absorption of calcium. Without enough vitamin D, there is no formation of the hormone calcitriol, an active form of vitamin D. This in turn causes low calcium absorption from the food. Therefore, body starts taking calcium from the skeleton system and making the existing bone structure weaker as well as stop the formation of new strong bones.

You need calcium for our heart, muscles, nerves, and blood clot for its proper functioning. Calcium deficiency leads to the development of osteoporosis. Many studies emphasize that fewer calcium intakes throughout life can cause low bone mass and high fracture possibility.

Vitamin D, Calcium and Diabetes

Many studies suggest that use of vitamin D and calcium supplementation has a potential benefit for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Vitamin D and calcium deficiency is even common among developed countries, and so simple inexpensive supplementation can help to prevent and better management of diabetes. For type 2 diabetics or pre-diabetics, vitamin D helps the body to secrete more insulin and may increase insulin sensitivity.

A study shows that low levels of vitamin D could lead to poor blood sugar control among diabetics and increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Epidemiologic studies have shown a role of vitamin D deficiency in the cause of type 1 diabetes, so protect children from type 1 diabetes by providing adequate vitamin D, which produces either by the body using sunlight or through foods and supplements. Another study has indicated that vitamin D may be helping the prevention of cardiovascular complications among diabetes.

Now it appears that lack of vitamin D, may play a role in asthma, cancer, depression, heart disease, diabetes, even weight gain. Evidence shows that children, who get adequate vitamin D, either from the sun or from supplements, may have a reduced risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Studies also link inadequate vitamin D to more severe childhood asthma. Children with asthma who have low vitamin D levels have more hospitalizations and use more asthma medications.

Vitamin D & Calcium mechanism of action

The active form of vitamin D is a substance that produces from its precursors in response to decreased level of calcium and/or increased levels of parathyroid hormone. Calcium level’s regulations are by vitamin D working in conjunction with two other hormones; they are parathyroid and calcitonin.

Vitamin D exists in several forms. A simplified version is as follows:

  • Vitamin D1is a precursor of active vitamin D, vitamin D1 converts into vitamin D2 (calcidiol) by an enzyme in the liver.
  • Vitamin D2 is converting to Vitamin D3 (calcitriol) by an enzyme in the kidneys. Vitamin D3 is the active form of vitamin D.

Benefits of Vitamin D & Calcium supplements

You need vitamin D for the proper absorption of calcium; you need calcium for stronger skeletal systems.
Vitamin D and calcium help to prevent or manage diabetes mellitus.

Vitamin D may also help to prevent cardiovascular complications common among diabetes.

Recommended dose of Vitamin D & Calcium

Recommended calcium intake is 200mg for six-month infants and 1000mg/day for adults. Tolerable upper intake level (UL) for calcium is 1000 mg for infants and 2500 mg for adults.

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) that is average daily quantity of intake of sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of vitamin D is 400 IU (10 mcg) for six-month infants and 800 IU (20 mcg) for adults. Tolerable upper intake level (ULs) for vitamin D is 1000 UI (25mcg) for infants and 4000 IU (100mcg) for adults.

Health risks of too much of Vitamin D & Calcium

Vitamin D excess (also called hypervitaminosis D) is rare and mostly caused by taking excessively supplemented by vitamin D. It leads to high levels of calcium, and has symptoms of nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, confusion, and heart rhythm abnormalities, or kidney stones.

Getting high calcium can cause constipation and might interfere with the body's ability to absorb iron and zinc. Too much of calcium from supplements (but not by food) might increase the kidney stones risk.

Medications that interacts with Vitamin D & Calcium supplements

Corticosteroids, orlistat (weigh loss drug), cholestyramine (cholesterol-lowering drug) and epileptic seizures drug phenobarbital & phenytoin may interact with Vitamin D supplements and affects vitamin D and in-turn calcium absorption.

Natural sources of Vitamin D & Calcium

Exposing yourself to sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D because sunlight is far more likely to provide you with your vitamin D requirement than food is. UV rays from the sun can trigger vitamin D production in your skin.

Natural sources of vitamin D are Cod-liver oil, Salmon, Tuna fish, Milk, Egg, Liver, Cheese, and Yogurt.
Natural sources of calcium are Almonds, Asparagus, Avocados, Brewer’s yeast, Broccoli, Buttermilk, Cabbage, Carob, Cheese, Collards, Dairy foods, Dandelion greens, Dulse, Figs, Filberts, Green leafy vegetables, Kale, Kelp, Milk (cow & goat), Mustard greens, Oats, Prunes, Salmon (with bones), Sardines, Seafood, Sesame seeds, Soybeans, Tofu, Turnip greens, Watercress, Whey,  Yogurt.

Chemical form of Vitamin D & Calcium

Vitamin D is available in two forms, vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol and D3 or cholecalciferol they chemically vary only in their side-chain structure. Synthesis of vitamin D2 is by the UV irradiation of ergosterol in yeast, and synthesis of vitamin D3 is by the irradiation of 7-dehydrocholesterol from lanolin and the chemical conversion of cholesterol.
There are various calcium compounds available, such as calcium carbonate and calcium citrate and others. When you take smaller dosage (500 mg or less) several times, a day better absorbs calcium supplements.

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