Vitamin D Could Extend Your Lifespan And Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

| June 14, 2016

Now that summer is here again (in theory, at least!), it’s time for more good news about the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D, which we make when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays. As regular readers of The Real Diabetes Truth will know, vitamin D is one of the most important natural substances for people with diabetes.

In earlier posts, I told you here how vitamin D deficiency has reached pandemic proportions in the UK and here how having a low level of vitamin D is a bigger risk factor for type 2 diabetes than obesity. Good levels of vitamin D are also associated with longer life expectancy. And now, researchers have figured out why.

It seems vitamin D’s ability to reduce type 2 diabetes risk and extend lifespan can be summed up in one word – telomeres. Telomeres are little caps of DNA on the ends of chromosomes, those thread-like structures that carry our genetic blueprint. Telomeres protect chromosomes from free radical damage, but gradually get worn away in the process. When the telomeres become too short, the cell ages and dies. Short telomeres have also been linked with type 2 diabetes.

Telomere length can be increased by an enzyme called telomerase – and the new research findings show that raising vitamin D levels in the body boosts telomerase activity. The study was carried out in Florida, USA, “the Sunshine State”, so you’d think that people there would have pretty good vitamin D levels. But the researchers found all of those they recruited for the study, who were from the Hispanic community and had type 2 diabetes, were deficient in vitamin D.

The trial participants received a supplement of 4000 IU vitamin D3 for six months. During this time, their telomerase activity rose from an average 49.3 RTA units (relative telomerase activity) to 63.1 RTA. The authors of the study concluded that “Vitamin D3 supplementation may prevent or delay disease progression in type 2 diabetes through telomerase re-activation and maintenance of DNA”.

To improve your vitamin D status, the best thing you can do is sunbathe (briefly) without sunscreen. While this goes against current advice from the anti-sun squad, in my next blog post I’ll tell you why it can actually reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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  1. Zarini GG, McLean M, Vaccaro J, Exebio J, Ajabshir S, Huffman FG.  Effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on telomerase activity in Hispanics with type 2 diabetes. FASEB J. 2016; 30(1 Suppl) 1156.1.
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Category: Vitamins and Nutrients

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