Vitamin-D deficiency linked with onset of Diabetes in Indian Women: Study
Women in India are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency says a multi-stakeholder study conducted by Fortis C- Doc in association with AIIMS, Diabetes Foundation of India and National Diabetes Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation. The cross-sectional study conducted in North India sheds light on the relationship between low vitamin D and high blood glucose levels in Indian women who are in the pre-diabetic stage. This is the first time such a study has been conducted in India, and it has been published in the British Medical Journal. The sample size for this study was 797 women between the ages of 20 and 60. They were chosen after a careful screening process, which involved clinical assessments and biochemical testing.
Women were assessed on the following parameters: Blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), fasting blood glucose (FBG), hydroxyvitamin D levels, demographic and clinical profiles, medical history (personal and family), socioeconomic characteristics, skin exposure to the sun and overall duration of sunlight exposure.
- Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in women:
o 68.6% women in India are vitamin D ‘deficient’.
o 26% women in India have ‘insufficient’ vitamin D.
o 5.5% women in India have ‘sufficient’ vitamin D.
- An inverse relationship exists between vitamin D levels and blood sugar levels indicating lower the vitamin D levels higher the blood sugar.
- This is the largest study regarding prediabetes and vitamin D in women in the world.
- Vitamin D may have a direct effect on the pancreatic beta cell function, thereby increasing insulin production.
- Supplementation with vitamin D may prevent diabetes in India women.
Vitamin D is present in foods such as milk, eggs, salmon, tuna, and mushroom. It is generated in the body endogenously when the ultra-violet rays hit the skin and trigger off its synthesis. It is an immune system regulator and is helpful in boosting metabolism, strengthening brain function, reducing asthma and the risk of arthritis.
Findings have indicated that women from lower socio-economic groups tend to have a higher vitamin deficiency that those from higher socio-economic groups. It has also been observed that postmenopausal women who suffer from low calcium deposits in addition to low vitamin D deficiency are at a higher risk of bone damage than others are.
Dr. Anoop Misra, Chairman Fortis C-Doc shared, “Previous studies had already established the link between the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and abdominal obesity. They have also highlighted how diabetic patients have lower levels of vitamin D as compared to non-diabetic individuals. Nine such studies, inclusive of both males and females, have been conducted. However, the relationship between vitamin D and the development of pre-diabetes, with a special focus on women, has remained obscure and unexplored. In India, there is a need to understand this as women have a propensity to be obese, develop metabolic syndrome, consequent hyperglycaemia and thereby be at the risk of diabetes. The pace at which women are moving from the pre – diabetic stage to the diabetic stage is alarming. If this could be prevented by prescribing a cost effective vitamin D supplement, it would be truly amazing.”
According to the WHO, diabetes is a chronic condition having no cure, which occurs when the pancreas is not able to produce insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. In 2015, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were caused by diabetes. A healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.