New Delhi: Indian women suffering from deficiency of vitamin D are susceptible to diabetes, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
The study that involves 1,361 women from Delhi aged 20 to 60 years showed a significant association of low vitamin D levels with higher blood glucose values in women with pre-diabetes.
The study conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences along with Fortis C-DOC and Diabetes Foundation (India) has thrown significant light on the association of low vitamin D levels and development of pre-diabetes, two medical conditions whose relationship has not been well understood till now.
The researchers measured and analysed the vitamin D levels and fasting blood glucose (FBG) levels in the study. “FBG levels were significantly higher in women with vitamin D deficiency as compared with those with vitamin D insufficiency and sufficiency. The study showed that higher FBG levels are associated with lower vitamin D levels in Indian women living in north India with pre-diabetes," said Dr. Anoop Misra, author of the study and chairman of Fortis-C-DOC Centre for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology.
“Based on preclinical studies, vitamin D appears to play a regulatory role in insulin secretion. Also various studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency impairs insulin secretion in rat pancreatic beta cells (that secrete insulin which helps in controlling blood glucose levels), while vitamin D supplementation seems to restore such glucose-stimulated insulin secretion," said Misra.
According to a recent report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), a trade association in the country, around 88% of Delhi’s population has less than normal vitamin D levels. The report also highlighted that the major concern is that people in Delhi at large are not even aware of the deficiency and its consequences. The department of biotechnology thus also recently decided to conduct research on “Vitamin D deficiency in India-public health significance and interventions".
“Specifically, women in India are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency because many of them are confined to households" and “thus they may not be exposed to sufficient sunlight", said Misra. “This is common in women with low socio-economic status," he said.
“It is also important to note that low vitamin D levels and inadequate intake of calcium may predispose postmenopausal Indian women to bone fractures," he said.