Vitamin D improves insulin sensitivity, astaxanthin may help manage blood sugar and healthy lifestyle changes reduced diabetes, in three new studies.
In a vitamin D study, doctors explained that insulin, the natural hormone produced by the pancreas, helps convert sugar in the bloodstream to energy. About 80 women, aged 23 to 68, who were insulin resistant—meaning their bodies didn’t use insulin properly—and whose vitamin D levels were low, took 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day or a placebo. After six months, while the placebo group had not improved, women in the vitamin D group were able to use insulin more effectively, meaning they had better insulin sensitivity and less insulin resistance.
In a glucose lab study, researchers said that chronic high blood sugar causes oxidative stress, which can eventually damage the kidneys. Doctors exposed kidney cells to glucose and then to astaxanthin and found that the antioxidant reduced several signs of oxidative damage and inflammation.
In a diabetes study, researchers followed over 3,200 overweight or obese adults with high blood sugar levels who were likely to develop type 2 diabetes. In the first phase of the study, participants took the antidiabetes drug Metformin, a placebo or made lifestyle changes including exercise, reducing calories and fats, and speaking frequently with health care professionals. After eight years, compared to placebo, those in the Metformin group were 31 percent less likely to develop diabetes and the lifestyle group was 58 percent less likely.
In phase two, after all treatment had stopped, researchers followed participants for another 10 years. They found that compared to placebo, those who had taken Metformin were 18 percent less likely—and the lifestyle group 34 percent less likely—to develop diabetes.