HYDERABAD: By the year 2035, it has been estimated by International Diabetes Federation that one person in ten will be suffering from diabetes. Globally, around 366 million people were affected by diabetes till 2011, while the number is projected to reach 552 million by 2030.
This upsetting revelation comes at a time when Diabetes, a chronic lifestyle disease, has recently acquired a status of a major health concern for India. Experts state that more than currently 61.3 million people are affected by the disease and nearly one-fifth of the world’s total diabetic population by 2030 will be from India which is around 101.2 million people.
Diabetes is an endocrinological disorder which occurs when the pancreas cannot produce insulin or when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin produced by the pancreas.
The factors prevailing to diabetes are still unknown but, scientists believe that genetic susceptibility and environmental factors are the biggest triggers of diabetes. Moreover, apart from other factors like age and obesity, of late doctors have found an association between Diabetes and Vitamin D deficiency.
Dr Naresh Gaud, Diabetologist, Lifespan Clinic, Hyderabad says, “In our country, the etiology of diabetes mellitus is multi factorial, including hereditary and environmental factors like obesity, which in turn is linked to sedentary lifestyles, steady urban migration and unhealthy diet patterns. However, it is the lesser known factors which are responsible for rapid progression of the disease. One of them is Vitamin D deficiency.”
A growing body of research states that there is an increased risk for type 2 Diabetes among people who have lower Vitamin D levels in the blood. In fact, people with type 2 Diabetes have been found to have lower levels of Vitamin D in their body, hereby establishing a strong connection between high blood sugar and deficiency of Vitamin D in the body.
“Most people find it surprising that with so much of sunlight in our country, they can suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. However, Lack of Vitamin D is a major risk factor for diabetes and with 85 percent of Indians suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, it is important to create awareness about the issue considering that Vitamin D deficiency and high blood sugar are rarely linked to each other”, says Dr. Naresh Gaud.
Commonly Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with bone health but, as pointed out earlier health experts are revealing some compelling facts about Vitamin D deficiency connected to diabetes. Sufficiency of Vitamin D in the body can now decrease the risk of diabetes.
The Vitamin D content in the body should be between 20 ng/mL to 50 ng/mL while, levels below 12 ng/mL indicates Vitamin D deficiency.
Experts point out that Indians are getting more prone to Vitamin D deficiency due to limited physical activity, poor dietary intake and staying indoors for long hours. There is largely prevalence of vegetarianism in India along with poor per capita consumption of non-vegetarian sources of the Vitamin, thereby making Indians more at risk of deficiency.
So, what is the solution?
Consuming Vitamin D supplements is an excellent option because sunlight is not enough for Vitamin D unless ¾ of our body is directly exposed to sunlight. Also, consumption of veg/non-veg food sources is not adequate as it does not have sufficient Vitamin D content. Thus, intake of supplements is beneficial for the population at large to fulfill their daily requirements of Vitamin D without any side effects, say experts.
“It is important that people consume Vitamin D supplements on regular basis to meet body’s need for sufficient amount of Vitamin D and lower their risk of getting diabetes” , explains Dr. Naresh Gaud.
So, considering that there is such a simple solution to prevent diabetes at hand, it is time to pay attention to your daily Vitamin D intake and switch to supplementation to fill in the gaps and prevent deficiency.