What is the Relationship Between Vitamin D and Diabetes?

Christine Hudson

Vitamin D and diabetes have been linked in several studies. Namely, it is believed that a vitamin D deficiency directly correlates to glucose intolerance and is often found in those with a lack of diabetes control. Many diabetes patients may be instructed to increase their vitamin D intake and even begin taking supplements in a treatment plan to control the condition. It has also been suggested in some studies that those with adequate vitamin D intake have a much lower risk of getting diabetes, even when genetics are at play against them.

Many diabetics are instructed to boost their vitamin D intake.
Many diabetics are instructed to boost their vitamin D intake.

Test and study results indicate that vitamin D plays an integral role in the body’s sensitivity to glucose and insulin. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to maintain proper intake with diet alone. Many turn to enriched supplements in pill, powder, or liquid form. Some medical professionals have even begun to prescribe vitamin D supplements to their patients who show deficiencies, especially females.

People with diabetes who want to modify their treatment regimen by taking supplements should first discuss any changes with their physician.
People with diabetes who want to modify their treatment regimen by taking supplements should first discuss any changes with their physician.

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During initial studies of vitamin D and diabetes, prescribing supplements was considered an experimental treatment option. As evidence has become more solid around deficiencies and diabetes, supplements and natural intake became more common in treatment plans. Fish, seafood, and other foods high in vitamin D may be suggested as part of a diabetes diet, as well as oral supplements. These steps combined with proper exercise and monitoring may help patients keep their diabetes under control and live longer, healthier lives.

It is important to note, however, that no studies have been able to find a direct cause and effect type of link between vitamin D and diabetes. Many studies of large test groups indicate a very higher percentage of diabetes patients and a deficiency of vitamin D, and others have shown improvement once vitamin D is added to the treatment plan. No studies, however, have been able to directly claim that a vitamin deficiency is the cause or part of the cause of diabetes. For this reason, some medical professionals do not add this vitamin to their prescribed treatment plans for diabetes.

Vitamin D and diabetes link aside, it is also possible to overdose on this nutrient. Although 1,000 to 2,000 international units (IU) is the suggested daily amount for adults, more than this over a period of time can build up a toxic level in the body which can be very harmful. The minor symptoms include dizziness, vomiting, and upset stomach, while more serious concerns include organ damage and high blood pressure.

Discussion Comments


I don't know what to think about this, I'm confused! All I know is that my anti-diabetic medication affects the absorption of vitamins in my body. My doctor told me this and recommended a daily multivitamin.


@SarahGen-- I think the connection between diabetes and vitamin D might go the other way. I think that having diabetes reduces our body's ability to produce vitamin D. The reason I feel this way is because many diabetics, especially type 2 diabetics, have vitamin D deficiencies when they are diagnosed. But their vitamin D levels go up when their diabetes is treated and their glucose levels are kept under control.

My experience has been the same. When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I was diagnosed with a vitamin D, magnesium and iron deficiency at the same time. After I started treating my diabetes, all of my vitamin and mineral levels increased.


I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last month. I'm not sure which factors contributed to my diagnosis but I don't think it has anything to do with vitamin D. I get plenty of sun, I live in Florida. I don't think that there is a strong connection between diabetes and vitamin D. Sedentary lifestyle, bad diet, stress and genetics play a more important role in my opinion.

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