Can one nutrient prevent type-2 diabetes?

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

August 1, 2022


Do you have a family history of type-2 diabetes? Are you overweight, or do you have elevated triglyceride, A1c, or insulin levels?

If so, then you know that you’re at a greater risk of getting diabetes than everyone else. So, don’t wait until you hear the bad news.

Scientists recently reported on an amazing study, which shows just how important taking one particular nutrient once a week can be for avoiding or treating diabetes. And it’s not chromium.

To do the study, the researchers enlisted 903 men and women with an average age of 74 years. All of them were free of diabetes or pre-diabetes.

The researchers monitored the group for the next nine years. During that time, 47 of them developed type-2 diabetes, and 337 developed pre-diabetes.

And here’s the thing. Their blood levels of vitamin D, even when they were in the so-called normal range, turned out to be a major factor in determining who ended up with diabetes and who didn’t.

The normal range for vitamin D in the blood is between 30-100 ng/ml. Compared with those who had abnormally low levels below 30 ng/ml, the men and women who had vitamin D levels between 30-49 ng/ml were a full 70% less likely to get diabetes.

Those who had levels greater than 50 ng/ml did even better. They were 80% less likely to get the disease. That means that people with vitamin D levels less than 30 are five times more likely to get diabetes than those with a level over 50.

And over the nine years of the study, for every 10 ng/ml increase in their vitamin D level, there was a 30% decrease in the chance of getting diabetes. In this study, the risk of getting diabetes was directly linked to the levels of vitamin D.

These are amazing numbers – especially when you realize that we’re only talking about one nutrient. And that nutrient is so safe, easy, and inexpensive to take.

For most people, simply taking 50,000 units of vitamin D once per week is all that is needed to get the levels up where they should be.

After two months, check your vitamin D level. If it’s over 50 ng/ml, then congrats! You have just significantly reduced your chance of getting diabetes.

If it isn’t, then increase the dose until the blood levels are over 50. I find that some people need to take quite a bit of vitamin D in order to reach the 50 mark.

Once you have established the right dose be sure to check your serum ionized calcium and parathyroid hormone levels. If the levels are abnormal, the dose will need to be adjusted down. This is because some people genetically do not need the higher vitamin D3 levels.

Study co-author Cedric F. Garland, adjunct professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine, said that to reach a level greater than the deficiency level of 30 ng/ml most people will “require dietary supplements of 3,000 to 5,000 international units (IU) per day, less with the addition of moderate daily sun exposure with minimal clothing (approximately 10-15 minutes per day outdoors at noon).”

You will probably notice that this is much more than the official recommendation from the National Institutes of Health, which recommends only 700-900 units of vitamin D per day.


Park SK, Garland CF, et al. Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and risk of type 2diabetes and pre-diabetes: 12-year cohort study. PLoS One. 2018 Apr 19;13(4):e0193070.

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