Vitamin D Supplements Reduce Depression and Pain For Diabetics

Vitamin D Supplements Reduce Depression and Pain For Diabetics

A new study by Loyola University Chicago researchers found that vitamin D decreases pain in women with type 2 diabetes and depression. This is the first study to look at the effects of vitamin D supplementation on type 2 diabetes patients. Researchers tested the effectiveness of weekly vitamin D2 supplements (50,000 IUs) taken for six months to treat depression in women with type 2 diabetes. After taking vitamin D2 supplements, depression significantly lessened in diabetic patients.

Researchers also found a significant decrease in neuropathic and sensory pain after three and six months of taking vitamin D2 supplements. Before taking supplements, 61 percent of women reported having neuropathic pain, such as shooting or burning pain in their legs and feet, and 74 percent had sensory pain, such as numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers and legs. The research team received funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research which will allow them to conduct a trial to determine whether two different doses of vitamin D3 supplements affect the health outcomes of women with type 2 diabetes. The grant will help researchers "to shed greater light on understanding the role that this nutrient plays in managing the health of women with diabetes," said Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, study co-author and professor, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

Read more about the importance of vitamin D

Todd Doyle, PhD, lead author, said that more research is needed, but "D2 supplementation is a promising treatment for both pain and depression in type 2 diabetes." He added that "pain is a common and often serious problem for women with type 2 diabetes and depression."

Previous studies on vitamin D linked deficiency with an increased risk for autism, pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, and childhood language impairment. Clearly, vitamin D is very important for optimum health. There are two ways to get vitamin D: either through exposing bare skin to sunlight or by taking vitamin D supplements. You  can't get the amount of vitamin D your body needs from food because you need a much larger amount than food can provide. Although exposing your bare skin to sunlight is probably the most natural way to get vitamin D, skin cancer is a very real concern. Taking supplements is a far safer way to get the vitamin D your body desperately needs. Vitamin D3 is the best kind to take, according to the vitamin D Council.

Read more about vitamin D supplementation

Image: Oleh Slobodeniuk 

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Gina-Marie is a freelance writer armed with a passion for healthy living and a degree in journalism. Hailing from the dry, sunny Central San Joaquin Valley, she hasn't let the heat fry her brain!