It's been determined that low levels of vitamin D are known to nearly double the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis now think they know why.
It appears that diabetics deficient in vitamin D can't process cholesterol normally, so it builds up in their blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. The new research has identified a mechanism linking low vitamin D levels to heart disease risk and may lead to ways to fix the problem, simply by increasing levels of vitamin D.
This is great news to anyone who has diabetes, because supplementation with D is inexpensive and readily available. "There is debate about whether any amount of sun exposure is safe, so oral vitamin D supplements may work best," says the lead author, "but perhaps if people were exposed to sunlight only for a few minutes at a time, that may be an option, too.".