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Got insulin resistance? Vitamin d supplements can help

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By David Liu, Ph.D.

Sunday Aug 14, 2011 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new trial reported in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may help improve insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity.

The study led by P.R. von Hurst and colleagues of Massey University in Auckland Australia found that in a group of women increasing the average serum level of vitamin D from 21 to 75 nmol/L drastically improved insulin sensitivity and reduced insulin resistance.

The study involved 81 South Asian women aged 23 to 68 years with insulin resistance, homeostasis model assessment 1 greater than 1.93 and serum vitamin d level less than 50 nmol/L.  Subjects did not take vitamin d supplements if any in a dose of no more 25 microg or 1000 IU/d.

For the study, 42 subjects were given 100 microg or 4000 IU of vitamin D per day while 39 subjects received a placebo as controls.  The randomized, controlled, double-blind trial lasted six months.

The researchers also found improvement of insulin resistance was maximized when serum vitamin D levels reached or exceed 80 nmol/L.  The vitamin D supplementation did not affect insulin secretion.

The recipe to improve your insulin resistance is thus as follows:

Taking vitamin D in a dose of 4000 IU per day for six months.
The target serum level: 80 to 115 nmol/L

People with insulin resistance can produce insulin, but their bodies do not use insulin properly. Insulin resistance boosts the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and heart disease.

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