Scientists from the University of Occupational and Environmental Health found that daily vitamin D supplements do not prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in people already at high risk.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Without intervention, it’s likely to become type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
Many people with prediabetes have no symptoms.
Progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable. With lifestyle changes, weight loss, and medication, it’s possible to bring a blood sugar level back to normal.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone.
Also, studies have shown that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation.
In the study, researchers aimed to examine whether eldecalcitol, an active form of vitamin D, can reduce the development of type 2 diabetes in people with pre-diabetes.
More than 1000 people received active vitamin D (eldecalcitol 0.75 μg per day) or a placebo for three years.
The researchers examined the risk of diabetes, bone densities, and metabolic health.
During the follow-up of 3 years, about 13% of 630 participants in the vitamin D group and 14% of 626 in the placebo group developed type 2 diabetes.
About 23% of 630 participants in the vitamin D group and 20% of 626 in the placebo group achieved normal blood sugar levels during the study.
The team found that the vitamin D supplement strongly lowered the development of diabetes among people with a lower level of basal insulin secretion.
With too little insulin, the body can no longer move glucose from the blood into the cells, causing high blood glucose levels.
During follow-up, the team found bone mineral densities strongly increased in the vitamin D group compared with the placebo group.
The researchers concluded that treatment with vitamin D does not strongly reduce the risk of diabetes among people with pre-diabetes.
But there is a potential benefit of vitamin D for people with insufficient insulin secretion.
The research was published in The BMJ and was conducted by Tetsuya Kawahara et al.
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