Diabetes is starting to reach epidemic proportions in the United States with 23 million American adults and children suffering from the disorder. Add to that the fact that 57 million Americans are pre-diabetic.
Some of the risk factors that are published by the NIH are included below.
- Older than 45
- Gestational diabetes
- Excessive weight especially in the waist.
- Family history
- HDL cholesterol under 35
- High blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat molecule (250 mg/dL or more)
- High blood pressure (greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg)
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Exercising less than 3 times a week
- Metabolic syndrome
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
A recent study from Tufts -by Anastassios G. Pittas, MD - showed that vitamin D may be helpful in improving insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. He found that those with the highest vitamin D levels had the lowest incidence of diabetes.
A recent French study found that Vitamin D from sun exposure was helpful in reducing the risk of breast cancer from about 32 to 43 percent.
Summertime sun exposure is an important way of elevating levels of vitamin D. Could sun block be a risk factor in the development of diabetes given that vitamin D levels are related to risk factors. We can easily produce as much as 10,000 IU in a few minutes of exposure if we have light skin. The vitamin D we need can be made before we even start to tan or turn pink and over-exposure is not necessary. For more information check out the Vitamin D Council’s website.