Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they go through a period of time where their blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. It's called prediabetes.
Now, researchers are shedding light on what can be done at this early stage.
Last year, registered nurse Eugene Cosnahan found out he is prediabetic, but that hasn't stopped him from enjoying some of his favorite foods. He said he's working to dodge diabetes in other ways.
"I've kind of started on a program to reduce my weight and get in a little bit better physical condition," Cosnahan said.
So far, he;s dropped 20 pounds, but sometimes losing weight is not enough. So, Cosnahan enrolled in a clinical trial called the D2d study.
Dr. Frank Greenway is looking to see if taking 4,000 units of vitamin D daily, which is four times the normal intake, will help to prevent diabetes.
"It's higher than what is the recommended daily allowance is, but it's certainly within the range of what's thought to be a safe dose," said Greenway, director of Pennington Outpatient Research Clinic, Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
"Also, people might be able to use food for some of the things that now often require medications," Greenway said. Especially the purple foods, also known as anthocyanins, found in blueberries and now in rice.
Developed by the LSU Agricultural Center, researchers hope purple rice will help to improve insulin resistance.
"I'm looking forward to hopefully, uh, seeing some real improvement," Cosnahan said.
Greenway said people with elevated levels of vitamin D, a history of kidney stones, or people with sarcoidosis, should not try the vitamin D regimen.
D2d is a national study that is still looking for more participants. For more information on how to enroll, go to www.d2dstudy.org/participate.