Published on 11 Mar 2023

The Surprising Link Between Vitamin D And Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder and uncontrolled diabetes makes one vulnerable to a number of health complications, such as kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, blindness and high blood pressure. 

The rate of diabetes is fast growing amongst the Indian population and it is estimated that by the year 2030, around 79 million individuals in India1 may be affected by diabetes mellitus (a group of diseases affecting the body’s ability to utilise glucose).

Some long-term complications of diabetes are explained below:

Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage)

Excess glucose damages the blood vessels that nourish the nerves. This is more common in the legs, which then results in symptoms like numbness, tingling, pain or burning that starts at the tip of the fingers or toes and slowly moves upwards. Nerve damage linked with digestion can cause issues like vomiting, nausea, constipation or erectile dysfunction, particularly in men.

Cardiovascular diseases

With diabetes, the risk of heart disease or stroke multiplies because diabetes ends up damaging the nerves or blood vessels that control the heart.

Diabetic nephropathy (Kidney damage)

The kidney contains several small blood vessel clusters known as glomeruli that do the work of filtering out the waste from the blood. Diabetes can upset this system.

Diabetic retinopathy (Eye damage)

One can become blind because diabetes can end up damaging the blood vessels of the eye.

Alzheimer’s & depression

Diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s and depression.

Although the exact cause of diabetes hasn’t been established as of yet, did you know that numerous studies have found links between vitamin D deficiency and diabetes?

To find out more about how this works, keep reading below.

The link between VDD and Diabetes

Despite India being a tropical country, approximately 490 million have been found to be vitamin D deficient (VDD)2. What’s more surprising is that another study revealed that in India, around 32 % and 35% of people with type 2 diabetes were found to be vitamin d deficient and insufficient, respectively3. To understand this better, let’s try and see how insulin (a hormone secreted from a gland below the pancreas) functions within the body.

1. The pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream

2. The insulin moves around, allowing sugar to enter cells

3. Insulin brings down the quantity of sugar in the bloodstream

4. As the blood sugar level dips, the secretion of insulin from the pancreas also stops

Another factor that regulates insulin secretion from the pancreas is the amount of calcium concentration in the blood and tissues. Calcium is very important for maintaining body homeostasis, which then controls glucose metabolism4. And since the presence of vitamin D in the body is crucial for better absorption and retention of calcium, we can assume that vitamin D deficiency can put you at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin D acts to reduce inflammation, which is a major process in inducing insulin resistance. 

So, if you are diabetic and also vitamin D deficient, you can watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Increased depression
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Loss of hair


Getting diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency along with diabetes can be a cause of worry for many. But with a doctor-recommended dietitian, this can be solved easily. Such a professional will create customised meal charts for you, including diabetic-friendly foods that also happen to be vitamin D enriched. They may ask you to incorporate vitamin D-fortified cereals, fish, milk, egg yolks and red meat into your meals. You may also be asked to develop a habit of spending 30-40 minutes out in the sun, such as jogging, brisk walking or cycling. This active lifestyle habit will not only help to up your vitamin D levels but will help to keep your weight under control and regulate insulin levels which is an important measure for diabetes management. After carefully evaluating the medications you are currently taking for diabetes, the doctor may also ask you to add nano vitamin D supplements (that ensure up to 90% absorption) in the dose most appropriate for your requirements. 

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.



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