Scientists from Peking University found that high vitamin D levels in the body are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.
Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes mainly from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy.
In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.
The good news is that you can take steps to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.
By definition, vitamin D is a hormone. The body synthesizes it after sun exposure, and it’s activated by the liver and kidneys. That activated form again acts like a hormone to regulate calcium metabolism.
Previous research has found that vitamin D levels in the body have been linked to the risk of type 2 diabetes, but the results are inconsistent.
Emerging evidence suggests that vitamin D metabolism is linked to sleep behaviors.
In the current study, researchers examined the link between vitamin D levels in the body [serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD)] and the risk of type 2 diabetes and whether the link was changed by sleep behaviors.
The team used data from more than 350,000 people free of diabetes in the UK Biobank. Their blood levels of vitamin D were measured.
The researchers examined five sleep behaviors, including sleep duration, insomnia, snoring, chronotype, and daytime sleepiness. The team also calculated genetic risk scores of sleep patterns.
During a follow-up of 8 years, 6,940 people developed type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that vitamin D level in the body was strongly linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
The team also found a strong interaction between vitamin D levels and overall sleep patterns on the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In people with healthier sleep habits, high vitamin D levels were linked to an even lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Among different sleep behaviors, daytime sleepiness showed the strongest effect.
Compared with people with excessive daytime sleepiness, people who did not sleep frequently during the daytime enjoyed stronger health benefits from high vitamin D levels.
The genetic variations of the sleep patterns did not modify the link between vitamin D levels in the body and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Based on these findings, the researchers suggest that higher vitamin D levels in the body are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Such links are modified by overall sleep patterns, with daytime sleepiness being the major contributor.
The research is published in Diabetes Care and was conducted by Mengying Wang et al.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies that the Keto diet could benefit overweight people with type 2 diabetes, and green tea could help reduce the death risk in type 2 diabetes
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and results showing a high-protein diet is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
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