Some good news for type 2 diabetic patients who are feeling depressed and experiencing pain. According to a new study, conducted at Loyola University Chicago by lead researcher, Todd Doyle M.D., with the Loyola Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences and presented on October 24, 2013 at a research conference at Loyola’s Health Sciences Campus, a significant number of women with type 2 diabetes and depression who were given weekly vitamin D2 pills of 50,000 IUs, reported a significantly decrease in both depression and pain. Additional research about vitamin D2 usage and the benefits to health support these findings.
At the very start of the new study, 61 % of patients reported shooting or burning pain in their legs and feet (neuropathic pain) and 74 % reported numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers, and legs (sensory pain). The study researchers were able to find a significant decrease in neuropathic and sensory pain at three and six months following vitamin D2 supplementation.
Depression can strike anyone at any time but several previous studies have suggested that people with type 2 diabetes face a much higher risk and that they have double the risk of depression when compared to those without diabetes. Symptoms of depression can include the following: persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood; feelings of hopelessness; feelings of helplessness; decreased energy or fatigue; insomnia; and irritability.
The chances of becoming depressed increase as the complications of diabetes get worse without effective management of the disease. Therefore, type 2 diabetic patients can sometimes feel overwhelmed and depressed coping with the daily stresses of diabetes management such as taking insulin shots, measuring blood glucose levels, eating the right foods, and to make matters worse, type 2 diabetes is also associated with pain.
Diabetics who experience pain typically suffer from nerve damage throughout the body, also known as diabetic neuropathy and this is a serious and common complication of diabetes and is often caused by years of high, unregulated blood glucose, largely due to lack of awareness.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that between 60 to 70 percent of all diabetics have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage and that many diabetics develop nerve damage one or two decades after diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, diabetic patients need to maintain close control over their blood glucose levels to keep their risk of nerve damage as low as possible. In addition to keeping glucose levels in a healthy range, studies have also shown that controlling blood pressure to ward off complications from diabetes is just as important.
According to the lead researcher, pain is a common and often serious problem for women with type 2 diabetes and depression and the study findings seem to support D2 supplementation as a promising treatment for type 2 diabetic patients who are suffering from both pain and depression.
The research evidence that vitamin D2 decreases pain sensations in adults with type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar levels are regulated to an extent by cortisol, which may be in short supply in adrenal fatigue. Fluctuating blood sugar levels may increase the difficulty of treating diabetes, possibly leading to more pain sensations. Thus, think about vitamin D2 intake to improve quality of life.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the advanced symptoms of disordered metabolic functioning in the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) model of stress response. This type of symptom is encountered at a time when the adrenal glands are at the point of exhaustion from continued stresses impinging on the body. Also an indicator of adrenal exhaustion in the NEM model is increased inflammation, which has been shown to be implicated in depression.
Some research indicates low levels of vitamin D may predispose people to depression. One study showed senior age adults with vitamin D deficiencies to be up to eleven times more likely to develop depression than those of the same age with sufficient vitamin D levels. There also is research evidence strongly suggesting supplementing with vitamin D may aid in preventing individuals prone to developing diabetes from progressing to the disease. Another study showed for every increase of one unit of vitamin D during supplementation with the vitamin came a decrease in the risk of development of full-blown diabetes of eight percent .
Recent research supports the idea that vitamin D supplementation has a beneficial effect on symptoms of depression. In some cases, the use of vitamin D improved the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) better than the standard light box treatment. Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have been found in depressed individuals. Exactly what the relationship is between low vitamin D and depression is not clear.