Vitamin D may help control glucose level in obese children
A new study led by researchers at the University of Missouri shows that vitamin D supplements can help obese, diabetic patients. It seems that vitamin D can help obese children to control their blood sugar and thus prevent the onset of diabetes. Vitamin D is one of four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and is essential in calcium metabolism in the body. It is well-known that vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, muscles and nerves. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that is formed in the skin by ultraviolet radiation, so vitamin D deficiency is rare. However it is possible a lack of vitamin D be detrimental to obese children.
It is known that in the past 30 years the rate of obesity in the United States has increased dramatically among children and adolescents. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, which is characterized by high levels of blood glucose. Catherine Peterson, associate professor of nutrition and year Exercise Physiology at MU, said vitamin D supplements had about the same effect as a hypoglycemic drug. She added that vitamin D supplements decreased the amount of insulin needed, which meant better blood glucose control.
Researchers made a study involving 35 obese pre-diabetic children and adolescents who received treatment at MU Adolescent Diabetes Obesity Program. All the 35 participants in the study had the same diet and physical activity and insufficient levels of vitamin D. They were randomized to receive either placebo or high-dose vitamin D supplement daily for six months. It seems that those who received an increased dose of vitamin D reduced the amount of insulin that usually took. Peterson said that the dosage of vitamin D that was used in the studies is not recommended to anyone. She said that clinicians should check vitamin D levels in obese patients because it is likely to be low. Increasing the amount of vitamin D may help control blood sugar and obesity that is associated with insulin resistance.
Peterson explained that vitamin D in obesity is not processed properly because it is trapped in adipose tissue and that this means that obese children should take twice more vitamin D than their peers to maintain an appropriate level. “The vitamin gets stored in their fat tissues, which keeps it from being processed. This means obese individuals need to take in about twice as much vitamin D as their lean peers to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D,” said Paterson.