What Your Doctor Never Told You About Vitamin D

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“Dear Pharmacist,

I read your Facebook post about vitamin D and how it works better than diabetic medications. I have diabetes, and no one has ever told me this. Would you share more information?”

–L.N. Denver, Colorado

Answer: Diabetes is an inflammatory condition, it is not just about high blood sugar like most people think. If left to run it’s devastating course, diabetes could steal your vision, destroy your kidneys, cause nerve pain, heart attack, stroke or amputation. So we have to take diabetes seriously, and do all that we can to reduce blood sugar (glucose) and make our cells happier to see insulin (improve insulin sensitivity).

Doctors have many medications at their disposal to reduce blood glucose. I think natural vitamin D can help too, so I posted that comment on Facebook and Twitter. I was trying to help people with diabetes because they may not know that it’s an inexpensive, over-the-counter dietary supplement. My comment was based in clinical science. More specifically, on a 2004 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which found that raising a person’s blood levels of vitamin D (from 25 to 75 nmol/l) could improve insulin sensitivity by a whopping 60 percent. Compare that to metformin, one of our pharmaceutical gold-standards, which can dispose of blood sugar by a meager 13 percent according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Guess what else? Back in 2001, The Lancet found that infants who took 2,000 IU daily, enjoyed a lowered risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Researchers have also found it may slash a person’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer in half. Just amazing!

Before vitamin D can work inside your cells as a hormone, it has to undergo some biochemical changes in your liver and kidneys. People with diabetes have difficulty activating vitamin D to the body-ready form.

It annoys me that conventional medicine’s answer to controlling blood sugar centers primarily around medications which often has side effects. Many studies have concluded that D is good for people, especially those who have high insulin, prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome,  pancreatitis, breast or prostate cancer and heart disease.

If for some reason your physician snubs his/her nose at this dietary supplement, then get tested. There are home test kits, or you can ask your physician to order one at the local lab. Then there will be no question.

Low vitamin D is associated with depression, fatigue, osteoporosis, heart disease, hypertension, autoimmune disease, cancers and chronic pain. Dosages vary. I suggest you ask your doctor if he minds you supplementing with about 5,000 IU “cholecalciferol” or vitamin D3 every morning. The most usable form of vitamin D is D3 (not D2) so read your label carefully. For more information, visit www.vitamindcouncil.org

Did You Know?
Papaya extract (and fresh papayas) “papain” enzyme which helps you digest your food, especially protein.