Vitamin D May Help Prevent Diabetes, Heart Diseases:Study

Vitamin D May Help Prevent Diabetes, Heart Diseases:Study

New research suggests sunbathing or vitamin D supplements may help restore good bacteria in the gut and help prevent metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that are risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.

The scientists discovered that vitamin D deficiency is necessary for metabolic syndrome to progress in mice, with underlying disturbances in gut bacteria.

One of the researchers Stephen Pandol from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the US said:

"Based on this study, we believe that keeping vitamin D levels high, either through sun exposure, diet or supplementation, is beneficial for prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome,"

Metabolic syndrome affects nearly a quarter of the world's adult population, and it is defined by a group of risk factors that put you on the road to diabetes and heart disease.

The characteristic symptoms include obesity around the waistline and at least two of the following: high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Sufferers usually also have excess fat in their liver.

The main cause of metabolic syndrome appears to be a diet high in fat or carbohydrate.

However, observational studies have also linked metabolic syndrome to vitamin D deficiency, which affects 30-60 per cent of the world's population.

The current study made important advances in understanding the causative role of vitamin D in this syndrome.

Pandol said:

"A sufficient dietary vitamin D supplement can partially but significantly antagonize metabolic syndrome caused by high fat diet in mice,"

Pandol noted:

"These are amounts equivalent to the dietary recommendations for humans,"

The study published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology found that a high fat diet alone is not enough to cause metabolic syndrome but it is needed in combination with vitamin D deficiency.

Accordingly, vitamin D supplementation improves metabolic syndrome in mice, the research team found.

The next step, the team said, would be to validate the results in humans.

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