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A Chicago based pilot research study found that vitamin D improves the health of females with type 2 diabetes in several ways. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. The team of researchers who conducted the study have received funding to expand the research to follow a larger number of patients.

The team of researchers who are from the Loyola University Chicago Niehoff School of Nursing found that among female type 2 diabetics with symptoms of depression, taking supplements of the vitamin resulted in a compelling drop in blood pressure, elevation of mood, and slight weight loss, according to ScienceDaily. They presented their data at the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions.

The pilot research study followed 46 females who averaged 55 years old. On average the women had suffered from diabetes for eight years and showed insufficient vitamin D levels (18 ng/ml). During the pilot study, they took 50,000 International Units (IUs) weekly for six months. At that point, vitamin D levels in the blood had climbed into the sufficient range, an average of 38 ng/ml, and moods were elevated. Scores on an initial depression survey moved from 26.8 to 12.2 at the half-year mark, indcating a significant drop in symptoms.

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Average blood pressure levels fell from 140.4 mm Hg for the higher number to 132.5. Average weight dropped from 226.1 to 223.6 pounds.

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) reports that diabetes affects 8.3 percent of the U.S. population, or 25.8 million individuals. Of these individuals, an estimated 7 million remain undiagnosed.

Type 2 diabetes, once known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, typically starts as insulin resistance. Between 90 to 95 percent Of diagnosed adult diabetics, have type 2 diabetes. Diabetics are particularly at risk for a vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency, possibly due to eating curtailed amounts of foods rich in the vitamin, lack of sun exposure, genetic issues, and/or being obese.

Vitamin D has an important role in calcium absorption and maintaining strong bones, says the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements. It also helps nerves transport messages between various parts of the body and the brain and boosts the immune system’s ability to attack bacteria and viruses. The normal sources of the vitamin are certain foods, sunlight, and dietary supplements.

The Chicago research team mentioned that they need to conduct a bigger, more in-depth and randomized trials to figure out exactly how vitamin D supplements impact depression and the major cardiovascular risk factors common to females with type 2 diabetes. They have received a $1.49 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institute of Health for a follow-on study.

They expect to obtain 180 females with type 2 diabetes, evidence of depression, and subpar vitamin D levels in the four-year research study. Diabetes patientswill randomly receive either 50,000 IUs of vitamin D each week or a weekly placebo for six months. If vitamin supplementation proves to be beneficial, it would be an easy, cost-effective diabetes treatment with relatively few side effects.

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