Disease Management

Diabetes and Vitamin-D Deficiency

Suzan Sayegh, MPH/ Health Promotion Researcher
23 November, 2015

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Type II diabetes (T2DM) is a condition in which the body cannot process the sugar intake appropriately. T2DM is a major health problem where about six people die every minute from the disease worldwide. Such rapid increase of T2DM is mainly due to the increased global levels of obesity which is affected by the changing environment and adoption of a modern lifestyle. T2DM is also influenced by older age, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, ethnicity and genetics. Research shows that there might be an association between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of T2DM development where vitamin D can help prevent diabetes progression. According to published studies, this effect exists because Vitamin D is found to improve the ability of the cells (beta cells) in the pancreas to produce insulin. It is known that insulin helps the body use and store the glucose obtained from food. Vitamin D reduces insulin resistance through controlling the blood glucose, thus, the body would less likely develop T2DM. This is how vitamin D can help protect you from getting diabetes!

Statistics from Qatar

Statistics show that Qatar has one of the highest rates of obesity among the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) countries and is ranked the sixth globally; where 45% of the Qatari population are found to be obese. Diabetes, in turn, is highly associated with the increased obesity. The existing relationship between lifestyle factors and genetics contributes to the high frequency of the disease. On the other hand, the Gulf region is also found to have one of the highest vitamin D deficiency rates in the world due to certain socio-cultural factors, in addition to the hot climate, lack of using fortified dairy products and inappropriate vitamin D supplementation. In Qatar, recent studies show that about 90% of the Qatari population suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

What if you can decrease the risk of diabetes by taking Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for maintaining the health of bones, teeth and joints, and immune system. The signs of vitamin D deficiency can include bone pain, muscle weakness, depression, and weakened immune system. On the longer-term, vitamin D deficiency can result in T2DM and other complications such as obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Foods that are considered as main sources of Vitamin D include fortified milk and cereals, egg yolks, fish liver oil, fatty fish including sardines and salmon. However, the sun is still considered as the primary source of vitamin D which is synthesized through the skin. It is important to keep in mind that the most effective approach to prevent T2DM is to use vitamin D supplements, in combination with the traditional preventive measures such as weight loss, dietary modification and exercise.

Still haven’t checked your vitamin D level?! Hurry up and do the test…

Note that you need to consult with your Doctor for an appropriate dosage prescription!



Main sources of Vitamin D:


SunFortified milk
Egg yolks
Fish liver oil
Fatty fish (sardines and salmon)




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