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The #1 Vitamin for Preventing a Major Diabetic Issue, New Study Finds

Ensure you're getting enough of this vitamin.
FACT CHECKED BY Kristen Warfield

While everyone should be aware of the impressive and beneficial ways that vitamin D can keep your body healthy while also helping to keep certain physical issues and potential diseases at bay, it's particularly important for those who have diabetes to know that there's a very good reason why they should ensure that they're getting enough vitamin D in their diet.

That's because a new study has found that vitamin D can prevent a major diabetic issue.

In the study that was recently published by Research Square, researchers took a look at 339 patients from the Department of Endocrinology, Air Force Special Medical Center, in Beijing, China. The patients who were between 60 and 90 years old all had type 2 diabetes while 204 also had diabetic foot ulcers.

Related: The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science

vitamin d
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When researchers took a look at the available data, they found that 80.5% of the overall patients had low levels of vitamin D. On top of that, 85% of those with diabetic foot ulcers had a vitamin D deficiency while another 13% had vitamin D levels that weren't quite high enough to be considered adequate. Only 2% of those with foot ulcers had enough vitamin D in their systems.

"The findings do not surprise me since vitamin D plays a key role in reducing inflammation and supporting immune health," Johna Burdeos, RD, tells Eat This, Not That!.

When it comes to how vitamin D is connected to diabetic foot ulcers, Burdeos explains that "as with any wound there is potential for infection." At the same time, "a person with vitamin D deficiency may lack the immune strength needed to mount a strong defense against infection," which "may lead to a worsening of the diabetic foot ulcer, where it progresses from the early stage of inflammation to tissue death or gangrene due to infection."

This is why Burdeos suggests "people with diabetes, especially older adults, get screened for vitamin D deficiency and discuss with their doctor if a vitamin D supplement is warranted."

Beyond that, those with diabetes should "follow up routinely with their medical team—doctor and diabetes educator." Burdeos notes that "ongoing education on diabetes management and control of the disease are critical components to prevention. In the case of diabetic foot ulcers, education and diabetes management may prevent loss of limb."

To find out if you have a vitamin D deficiency, be sure to read The #1 Way to Tell If You Need More Vitamin D, Says Dietitian.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more