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Top Five Sources of Vitamin D to Fight Diabetes

Can of Tuna packed in water by stone-soup | flickr

Diabetes can be a dangerous, chronic condition in men, women and children if left untreated. The disease can impact the functionality of almost every part of the body, leading to additional health problems. In addition, the mental toll of living with diabetes can negatively affect a person’s outlook on the disease and life itself. It can be especially difficult for women as it is estimated that 25 percent of females with diabetes experience depression that may compromise their ability to effectively manage the condition.

In June, at the American Diabetes Association’s 73rd Scientific Sessions, a study was featured that addressed these issues in women living with diabetes and exploredthe potential of treating them with Vitamin D. The study was conducted by Loyola University of Chicago where researchers examined 46 women for six months, treating them with “50,000 IUs of Vitamin D weekly.”  Their average age was about 54 years old, and on average, the women had been diabetic for close to eight years. Researchers took a baseline recording of health indicators such as weight, blood pressure and Vitamin D levels. They repeated at the end of the study.

The researchers reported that as the Vitamin D levels increased in the women, their depression, weight and blood pressure were reduced. Lead researcher, Dr. Sue Penckofer, summed up the conclusion by stating, “Vitamin D supplementation potentially is an easy and cost-effective therapy, with minimal side effects.” A larger, four-year study will be conducted to expand these findings.

I do think there may be important findings coming out of this study. In basic terms, the better you feel, the better mentally equipped you are to take care of yourself. People who can minimize depression tend to be the ones who are eating right, exercising and monitoring their insulin levels, and therefore, lower risk factors for problems such as heart disease. Vitamin D can be taken as a supplement (as discussed in the study), but I always urge you to consult your physician before you take any new supplement. Or, you can take in Vitamin D through the foods you eat or by being in the sun.

Many of the foods highest in Vitamin D come from fish, although there are other sources such as fortified juices, milk or yogurts. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D for most adults is 600 IUs. The fish that are most Vitamin D rich are:

  1. Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon
  2. Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces
  3. Salmon, cooked, 3 ounces
  4. Tuna fish, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces
  5. Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 2 sardines