Vitamin DVitamin D is important for the human body to maintain healthy bones and teeth and also to aid cell growth and assist the immune system. Its deficiency can poses increased risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and some infectious diseases. Now, a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology maintains that Type 2 diabetes is linked to vitamin D deficiency and not to obesity. Researchers at Universidad de Málaga in Spain found that people with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to be diabetic, regardless of how much they weigh.

This study compared the relationship between vitamin D, body mass index (BMI), and diabetes in 118 participants at a hospital associated with the Universidad de Málaga and 30 additional participants at a second hospital in Girona, Spain. All participants were classified by their body-mass index (BMI) as well as whether they had diabetes, prediabetes or no glycemic disorders. The researchers measured the level of vitamin D in the participants’ blood streams and vitamin D receptor gene expression in adipose tissue.

The analysis found that vitamin D levels were directly correlated with glucose levels, but not with BMI. It was observed that:

  • Obese patients who did not have glucose metabolism disorders had higher levels of vitamin D than diabetic patients
  • Lean patients with diabetes or another glucose metabolism disorder were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D
  • Vitamin D deficiency and obesity interact to heighten the risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders

The author of the study concluded that it could be possible for people to reduce their risk by maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough outdoor activity.

"One easy step, then, to help you avoid a diabetes diagnosis is getting some sunshine" he said.

The sunshine vitamin has been in the news lately. Research presented at the 2015 International Stroke Conference (ISC) correlated low vitamin D levels after stroke to poorer Health and risk of a severe stroke. The rising demand for clinical testing of vitamin D levels has led to the development of quality products such as Beckman Coulter’s Access 25 (OH) Vitamin D reagent and a liquid-stable, three-reagent system from Diazyme that is specifically designed for use on general clinical chemistry analyzers. Leading laboratory equipment suppliers offer both these accurate and fast assays at competitive rates.