Contact: Nora Plunkett
Loyola University Health System
Vitamin D is the 'it' nutrient of the moment
Loyola researchers report on benefit of vitamin D in diabetes and other chronic diseases
– Vitamin D is quickly becoming the "it" nutrient with health benefits
for diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and now
A recent review article published by researchers
from Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing
concluded that adequate intake of vitamin D may prevent or delay the
onset of diabetes and reduce complications for those who have already
been diagnosed. These findings appeared in the latest issue of
D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases
in particular," said Sue Penckofer, Ph.D., R.N., study co-author and
professor, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of
Nursing. "This article further substantiates the role of this nutrient
in the prevention and management of glucose intolerance and diabetes."
of the 23 million Americans with diabetes have low vitamin D levels.
Evidence suggests that vitamin D plays an integral role in insulin
sensitivity and secretion. Vitamin D deficiency results in part from
poor nutrition, which is one of the most challenging issues for people
with diabetes. Another culprit is reduced exposure to sunlight, which
is common during cold weather months when days are shorter and more
time is spent indoors.
One study examined for this review
article evaluated 3,000 people with type 1 diabetes and found a
decreased risk in disease for people who took vitamin D supplements.
Observational studies of people with type 2 diabetes also revealed that
supplementation may be important in the prevention of this disease.
of vitamin D deficiency may be a simple and cost-effective method to
improve blood sugar control and prevent the serious complications
associated with diabetes," said Joanne Kouba, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N.,
study co-author and clinical assistant professor of dietetics, Loyola
University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.
alone may not be sufficient to manage vitamin D levels. A combination
of adequate dietary intake of vitamin D, exposure to sunlight, and
treatment with vitamin D2 or D3 supplements can decrease the risk of
diabetes and related health concerns. The preferred range in the body
is 30 - 60 ng/mL of 25(OH) vitamin D.
"People at risk for
diabetes should be screened for low vitamin D levels," said Mary Ann
Emanuele, M.D., F.A.C.P., study co-author and professor of medicine,
division of endocrinology and metabolism, Loyola University Health
System. "This will allow health care professionals to identify a
nutrient deficiency early on and intervene to improve the long term
health of these individuals."
Vitamin D deficiency also may be
associated with hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, hypertension and
heart disease. In fact, Penckofer recently published another study in
Circulation that reported on the role of chronic vitamin D deficiency in heart disease. The
study authors included Glen W. Sizemore, MD, emeritus professor of
Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Loyola University
Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and Diane E. Wallis, MD, Midwest
Heart Specialists, Downers Grove, Ill.
Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing was founded in 1935 as the first
baccalaureate nursing program in Illinois. Today, the School is
accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Top-rated
nursing programs are offered at all levels along with programs for
dietetics and health systems management. In addition to academic
programs, the School is home to the Center for Ethics in Nursing, the
Center for Spiritual Leadership in Health Care, and the Center for
Nursing Research. The School is part of Loyola University Chicago,
ranked one of the country's top national universities by U.S. News
& World Report. In concert with the Loyola's Jesuit heritage, the
School of Nursing stresses excellence in teaching, research, service