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Vitamin D the Key to Diabetic’s Heart Health

Vitamin
D deficiency is a largely unknown and undiagnosed condition in
Australia. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms can range from moodiness,
irritability to sickness and ill health.

In terms of of the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and
cardiovascular disease, this fairly simply diagnosis is often
overlooked for more complicated causes.

Approximately one billion people worldwide have low levels of the
synthesised Vitamin D 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This is the principal
circulating storage form of vitamin D, and more than half of
middle-aged vitamin D deficient patients develop cardiovascular disease.

This study, performed in 2009, aimed to find the mechanisms by which
vitamin D increases cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients. It
specifically concentrated on the effects of vitamin D on macrophage
cholesterol deposition. Macrophages are dispatched by the immune system
in response to inflammation and often are activated by diseases such as
diabetes. The researchers believe that in diabetes patients with
inadequate vitamin D, macrophages become loaded with cholesterol and
eventually stiffen blood vessels and block blood flow. The study
investigated 76 obese, diabetic, hypertensive patients with vitamin D
deficiency.

Macrophages were obtained from the obese, diabetic, hypertensive
patients with vitamin D deficiency, and then split into 4 control
groups; obese, diabetic, hypertensive patients with normal vitamin D
levels, obese, non-diabetic, hypertensive patients with vitamin D
deficiency, non-obese, non-hypertensive patients with vitamin D
deficiency or vitamin D sufficient people.

The macrophages from the same patients in all groups were exposed to modified low-density cholesterol.

According to the results, macrophages from diabetics with vitamin D
deficiency retained cholesterol and formed foam cells, which is an
early marker of atherosclerosis. In the presence of vitamin D, however,
cholesterol uptake was reduced. This latter result was also observed in
the macrophages of diabetics who were not vitamin-D deficient.

Activation of the vitamin D receptor signalling was shown to be
responsible for a dramatic suppression of cholesterol uptake.
Impairment of the signalling (in the form of vitamin D deficiency)
confirmed the acceleration of cholesterol formation in diabetics.  This
study, in conclusion, shows a link between vitamin D deficiency and
cholesterol formation in type 2 diabetics.

The Spinal Centre’s Comment:

This is very interesting research – and very promising, especially for diabetics.

The study found that diabetes patients deficient in vitamin D can’t
process cholesterol normally, so it builds up in their blood vessels,
increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. This research has
identified the mechanism linking low vitamin D levels to heart disease
risk, and may lead to ways to fix the problem simply by increasing
levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D basically inhibits the uptake of cholesterol by cells
called macrophages. So when we are deficient in vitamin D, the
macrophage cells eat more cholesterol that they can’t get rid of,
causing them to become clogged with cholesterol and become what is
referred to as foam cells. Foam cells are one of the earliest markers
of artherosclerosis.

Vitamin D is mainly sourced from the sun – it is synthesised in the
body to 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the usable form of the vitamin. In the
last couple of decades, as research and technology has developed, so
has our knowledge of cancer, especially skin cancer. We seem to vary
between two extremes – lying on the beach all day burning to a crisp,
or bathing in sunscreen and covering every inch of our body.

A lack of vitamin D in our body can lead to a range of common,
misdiagnosed and serious conditions, such as high blood pressure,
multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, memory loss,
stroke, heart attacks and cancer. Vitamin D has a huge effect on our
moods, mental health and even immune system function.

In a country as sunny as Australia, it’s ironic how a large
percentage of us are vitamin D deficient. We basically need to spend
more time in the sun, without being slathered in sunscreen.

Ten to fifteen minutes a day is all it takes, and it doesn’t have to
be at the hottest time of the day either. Instead of eating morning tea
at your desk, go for a quick walk. Stroll around the block in the
morning. Eat lunch outside. There are so many opportunities where you
can get your daily dose of vitamin D. It’s not hard.

If you do spend most of your day out in the sun, it is still
important to cover up. Anything over 10-15 minutes can be too much, so
don’t throw away the sunscreen just yet.


What else can I do?

  • Get your exact vitamin D levels tested. There are 5 different types
    of vitamin D, so it is important that you get the right one tested.
    Thanks to scientific advances and new technology, you can now easily
    find out if you are vitamin D deficient, and the nutritional strategies
    you need to take to stabilise your levels. Click here for more information.Combine
    this with the The Spinal Centre Consultaiton, and you can find out the exact
    supplements you should be taking to address your key health areas. Click here to find out more.
  • Eating well?  Forget the bread, junk food and take-away, and stick
    with fresh vegetables, fruit, lean meats, and fish. You should get most
    of the vitamins and minerals from your food and supplement your diet
    with natural medicine. Cut out the sugar and junk to reduce your
    chances of having high cholesterol and diabetes. Read ‘Health Promoting Nutrition‘ and ‘Why Change Our Diet?‘ for more information.
  • Not eating enough of the good stuff? Supplement with a top-quality multi, like those found onThe Best Multivitamins to optimise your health and energy levels.
  • How much do you exercise? We should all aim for at least 20-30 minutes a day minimum. Read ‘Stretching and Exercise‘ for an easy-to-follow fitness guide.
  • Taking your fish oil? Fish oil is very beneficial for diabetes and
    related cardiovascular disease, with some studies showing at least a
    30% reduction in mortality in those who supplement daily with a good
    fish oil. We should all get our essential fatty acid levels checked to
    ensure that we are taking the correct omega-3 ratios. Click here to find out about the Essential Fatty Acid Level Test.
  • Is your gut healthy? In order to absorb vitamins and minerals from
    our food correctly, you must have a good balance of good bacteria.
    Alcohol, processed food and antibiotics throw of this balance, so it’s
    important that you supplement with a probiotic to stabilise your
    balance. Click here to find out more about The Best Probiotics.


Further Reading:

If you like this article be sure to visit the Spinal Centre website at www.thespinalcentre.com.au and view more content by Dr. Hooper and the Spinal Rehabilitation Team.

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