Vitamin D Supplementation and Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes – Healthline



Diabete is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be use for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

Taking a daily vitamin D supplement does not prevent type 2 diabete in adults at high risk, according to results from a study funded by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The Vitamin D and Type 2 Diabetes (D2d) study enrolled 2,423 adults.

it was conduct at 22 sites across the United States. These findings were publishe in the New England Journal of Medicine and presente at the 79th Scientific Sessions of the American Association in San Francisco.

vitamin D

“Observational studies have reported an association between low levels of vitamin D and increased risk for type 2 diabetes,” said Myrlene Staten, M.D., D2d project scientist at NIDDK. “Additionally, smaller studies found that vitamin D could improve the function of beta cells, which produce insulin. However, whether vitamin D supplementation may help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes was not known.”

D2d enrolled a diverse group of participants with a range of physical characteristics, including sex, age, and body mass index, as well as racial and ethnic diversity. This representation helps ensure that the study findings could be widely applicable to people at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

“In addition to the study’s size, one of its major strengths is the diversity of its participants, which enabled us to examine the effect of vitamin D across a large variety of people,” said lead author Anastassios G. Pittas, M.D., principal investigator from Tufts Medical Center, Boston. “When the study ended, we found no meaningful difference between the two groups regardless of age, sex, race or ethnicity.”

type 2 diabetes

“As we learned from the NIDDK-funded Diabete Prevention Program (DPP), type 2 diabetes is not a foregone conclusion, even for those at high risk for the disease,” said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. “While we continue to search for new ways to prevent the disease, we know that lifestyle change or the drug metformin remain effective methods to prevent type 2 diabetes.

D2d(link is external) ( No. NCT01942694) was supported under NIH award U01DK098245, primarily funded by NIDDK, with additional support from the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements and the American Diabetes Association. Support in the form of educational materials was provided by the National Diabetes Education Program, a joint program of the NIH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The NIDDK, part of the NIH, conducts and supports basic and clinical research and research training on some of the most common, severe, and disabling conditions affecting Americans. The Institute’s research interests include diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases. For more information, visit


Over the last decade, vitamin D has emerged as a risk determinant for type 2 diabetes and vitamin D supplementation has been hypothesized as a potential intervention to lower diabetes risk. Recently, several trials have reported on the effect of vitamin D supplementation on diabetes prevention in people with prediabetes.

Evidence Acquisition

A comprehensive literature review was performed using PubMed, Embase, and to identify: (1) recent meta-analyses of longitudinal observational studies that report on the association between blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) level and incident diabetes, and (2) clinical trials of adults with prediabetes that have reported on the effect of vitamin D supplementation on incident diabetes.

Evidence Synthesis

Longitudinal observational studies report highly consistent associations between higher blood 25(OH)D levels and a lower risk of incident diabetes in diverse populations, including populations with prediabetes. Trials in persons with prediabetes show risk reduction in incident diabetes with vitamin D supplementation.


How blood sugar levels affect risks in type 1 diabetes - Linköping University

What are the different types of diabetes?

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.

Other types of diabetes

Less common types include monogenic diabetes, which is an inherited form of diabetes, and cystic fibrosis-related diabete External link.

How common is diabetes?

As of 2015, 30.3 million people in the United States, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes. More than 1 in 4 of them didn’t know they had the disease. Diabete affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. About 90-95 percent of cases in adults are type 2 diabetes.1

Who is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabete. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabete if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabete.

What health problems can people with diabetes develop?

Over time, high blood glucose leads to problems such as

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems

You can take steps to lower your chances of developing these diabetes-related health problems.

What types of conditions are linked to vitamin D deficiency?

1) Diabetes

If you have a vitamin D deficiency, you’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D helps your body produce hormones that regulate your blood sugar. Without it, your blood sugar is more likely to fluctuate and spiral out of control.

2) Heart disease

You probably know about common risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but low vitamin D can also increase your risk of heart disease. Vitamin D helps your blood vessels relax and widen and can also help prevent inflammation and clotting. Without enough vitamin D, your blood vessels aren’t as stretchy, and inflammation and clotting are more likely to occur. Vitamin D also helps lower the risk of heart disease by lowering the risk of diabetes.

3) Breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer

If you don’t have enough vitamin D circulating through your body, you might be more prone to certain cancers, including breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer. Unfortunately, experts don’t yet know exactly how or why vitamin D deficiency might be linked to cancer, but turns out that most people with these cancers are vitamin D deficient. Keep in mind that just because you take vitamin D supplements doesn’t mean they will prevent cancer.

4) Dementia

Even though the exact relationship between vitamin D and brain function isn’t known, it’s true that patients with dementia—and specifically Alzheimer’s disease—are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. It’s especially important to get enough vitamin D in order to optimize your brain function as you get older.

5) Depression

By stimulating the brain to release “happy hormones” like serotonin and dopamine, vitamin D plays an important role in mental health and mood. These hormones are the ones that help you feel a sense of well-being and happiness. This may explain why people who live in colder, grayer atmospheres (and are therefore more likely to be vitamin D deficient) are more likely to develop issues like depression and schizophrenia.

6) Erectile dysfunction

Earlier, we learned that vitamin D can help relax and widen the blood vessels. Having stretchy blood vessels is critical to healthy sexual function since getting an erection requires blood to be able to flow freely into the vessels in the penis. If those vessels are too stiff, you may not be able to get or keep an erection, a condition known as erectile dysfunction.

7) Osteoporosis and bone disorders

Perhaps one of the most well-known results of vitamin D deficiency is osteoporosis, a condition in adults where bones are weak and brittle due to a lack of calcium. Likewise, when children have low vitamin D levels for long periods of time, they are prone to develop a condition know as rickets, which is characterize by weakene bones and stunte growth.

What are signs of vitamin D deficiency?

How do you know if you’ve got low vitamin D levels? Great question! Depending on how low your levels are, you might notice any of the following signs:

  • Bone or muscle pain
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Depressed mood
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Hair loss

The thing is, many of these signs could be related to other conditions. Your doctor can run tests to determine for certain whether or not you have enough vitamin D in your blood.

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