A new gene study is out today casting doubt on the theory that elevated levels of vitamin D can help guard against type 2 diabetes. That doesn’t mean you should sit in the house, but those taking supplements to guard against the disease are missing the boat on preventing the disease.

Previous research had suggested a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and type 2 diabetes. A gene study, published in the latest issue of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, is pushing back on that assertion. Researchers found no connection between the various genes that control vitamin D levels and a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Want to prevent developing the disease. Diet and exercise. Yeah, the magic pills are not going to save you, but going for a walk just might. Lead study author, Dr. Nita Forouhi of the University of Cambridge, explained the findings.

“Our findings suggest that interventions to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing concentrations of vitamin D are not currently justified. Observational studies that show a strong and consistent higher risk of type 2 diabetes with lower levels of vitamin D may do so because they have thus far not been able to adequately control for distorting or confounding factors, such as physical activity levels.”

There is a long-term trial that is further testing the theory of vitamin D deficiency and type 2 diabetes, but the thirty-five short-term studies are essentially sealing the door shut on the idea that active vitamin D supplementation can ward of type 2 diabetes.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be getting your daily dose of the vitamin, it just means you can’t take out a dozen donuts and pop a vitamin D pill and expect that to end well for your overall health. The mantra of moving around and sensible diet is the constant in keeping you healthy well into your golden years.

I know, blitzing the bakery like Genghis Khan is fun, but we all pay for it in the end. If you are looking for tips on how to prevent type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention has an excellent primer.

Read the full study and accompanying commentary here.


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