Recent findings from a study conducted at Université Laval in Quebec showed that Vitamin D supplementation may slow the progression of type 2 diabetes in newly diagnosed individuals and those with prediabetes. The study suggest that high-dose supplementation of vitamin D can improve glucose metabolism to help prevent the development and progression of diabetes. Currently, type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent global disease that places a huge burden on patients and society and can lead to serious health problems including nerve damage, blindness and kidney failure. Individuals at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes (prediabetes) can be identified by several risk factors including obesity or a family history of the diabetes.
Previous studies have already shown that low vitamin D levels is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, however there are some studies that have reported no improvement in metabolic function. However, these studies often had a low number of participants or included individuals with normal vitamin D levels at the start who were metabolically healthy, or who had long-standing type 2 diabetes.
In this new study, the researchers examined the effect of vitamin D supplementation on glucose metabolism in individuals newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or identified as at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Markers of insulin function and glucose metabolism were measured before and after six months of high-dose vitamin D supplementation (approximately 6-10 times the recommended dose). Although only 48% of study participants were determined to have low vitamin D levels at the start of the study, supplementation with vitamin D significantly improved the action of insulin in muscle tissue of participants after six months in the study.
"The reason we saw improvements in glucose metabolism following vitamin D supplementation in those at high risk of diabetes, or with newly diagnosed diabetes, while other studies failed to demonstrate an effect in people with long-standing type 2 diabetes is unclear. This could be due to the fact that improvements in metabolic function are harder to detect in those with longer-term disease or that a longer treatment time is needed to see the benefits. Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are a growing global public health concern and although our results are promising, further studies are required to confirm our findings, to identify whether some people may benefit more from this intervention, and to evaluate the safety of high-dose vitamin D supplementation in the long term. Until then I would suggest that current vitamin D supplementation recommendations be followed. "commented lead researcher; Dr Claudia Gagnon in an exclusive interview with Thailand Medical News.
Future studies should evaluate whether there are individual clinical or genetic factors that affect how different people respond to vitamin D supplementation and if the positive effect on metabolism is maintained in the longer term.
Reference:Patricia Lemieux, John S Weisnagel, Annabelle Z Caron, Anne-Sophie Julien, Anne-Sophie Morisset, Anne-Marie Carreau, Jonathan Poirier, Andre Tchernof, Julie Robitaille, Jean Bergeron, André Marette, Marie-Claude Vohl, Claudia Gagnon. Effects of 6-month vitamin D supplementation on insulin sensitivity and secretion: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. European Journal of Endocrinology, 2019; DOI:&n