A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that vitamin D was beneficial in reducing the risk of diabetes in people with prediabetes.
It should come as no surprise that reducing the risk of diabetes, blood glucose spikes, and insulin resistance prevention and control are top priorities in public health given their ranking as the ninth greatest cause of mortality worldwide and their role in more than one million annual fatalities.
Since our diet is the primary source of glucose, diet and other lifestyle choices have a significant impact on the signs and processes linked to type 2 diabetes. And scientists have shown that one vital vitamin has a bigger impact than previously thought on encouraging normal blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts conducted an overview and meta-analysis of three clinical studies looking at the influence of vitamin D on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Research on Reducing The Risk of Diabetes
The researchers looked for trials with a three-year follow-up and patients taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D supplements. A total of 2,097 people took vitamin D pills, whereas 2,093 got a placebo.
The study on Vitamin D reducing the risk of Diabetes comprised 4,190 people from three randomly selected clinical trials. The participants were 51% white, 44% female, and the average age was 61.
During the study period, 475 people, or approximately 22% of those in the vitamin D group, were diagnosed with diabetes for the first time. It was diagnosed for the first time in 524 people or nearly 25% of the placebo group.
According to the researchers’ data extrapolation, people who used vitamin D supplements had a 15% decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to the study, over 10 million patients worldwide with prediabetes may be able to prevent type 2 diabetes by taking vitamin D supplements.
The researchers were particularly interested in identifying the time to event for newly established diabetes, in addition to examining adverse events and the restoration to normal glucose regulation – thus reducing the risk of diabetes.
The 15% reduction is less effective than other type 2 prevention techniques, according to the researchers, who also observed that metformin can cut the risk by 31% and intensive lifestyle changes can lower it by 58%.
In general, the supplements were well tolerated. Kidney stones and elevated calcium levels in the urine or blood were among the adverse events, however, their occurrence rates were very low and there was no appreciable difference in these events among the participant groups.
Cautions on The Study of Reducing The Risk of Diabetes
The researchers did not examine the study for safety since certain people who might be at risk for kidney problems were not included in the study.
More so, children, expecting or nursing mothers, hospitalized patients, individuals with end-stage renal disease, and people living with HIV were all barred from participating.
Mary A.T. Flynn, Ph.D. of Brown University in Rhode Island, and Dr. Malachi McKenna of St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Ireland argued in an accompanying editorial that professional societies that advise doctors on the benefits and drawbacks of vitamin D therapy (on reducing the risk of diabetes) have a duty of care to understand advice from governmental organizations.
According to the editorial writers, the researchers should advocate for public health recommendations for vitamin D intake requirements, thresholds, and safe limits. There are substantial differences between therapy and supplemental feeding.
Safe vitamin D supplementation of 10 to 20 mcg (400 to 800 IU) per day can be used to prevent skeletal and perhaps non-skeletal disorders in the general population. Very high dose vitamin D therapy may prevent type 2 diabetes in some patients, but it also has the potential to be detrimental.
Although participants in the study were at high risk for type 2 diabetes, the findings cannot be applied to the broader populace. About 30% of the individuals’ glucose levels reached their pre-study levels when the trial was over.
In terms of safety, there were no noteworthy differences between the vitamin D and placebo groups with regard to mortality, hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria, and kidney stones.
These are fascinating studies, according to Dr. Rose Lin, an endocrinologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California, and the findings should spur additional research in the form of sized randomized trials.
She explained to Healthline that suggestions for the general population to elevate their vitamin D levels to this degree are not advised at this time because the level of vitamin D used in reducing the risk of Diabetes (which resulted in a clinically insignificant decrease), is notably greater than the normally advised safe dosage.