A study published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice found that in rats with diabetes, vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces the amount of advanced glycation end-products in the arteries and protects against total oxidative stress.
Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are compounds formed from the addition of a carbohydrate to a protein. AGEs are deposited within cells, which leads to cells and tissues becoming stiffer, less flexible and more subject to damage and premature aging. AGEs are believed to play a causative role in the blood vessel complications seen in diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) by making artery walls stiffer and impairing blood flow.
AGEs are known to speed up oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a term that describes the process of removing electrons from an atom or molecule. An example of oxidative stress that everyone has seen is when iron rusts.
In the human body, glucose is combined with oxygen to create energy. In this process, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are also created that strip electrons from any atom and molecule they interact with, damaging cells and tissues. Antioxidants, such as glutathione and vitamin C, are substances we ingest or that are made in the body that can donate electrons in order to stop the damage caused by ROS.