In a review study from Tufts Medical Center, scientists found that higher vitamin D intake was linked to a 15% decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adults with prediabetes.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin available in or added to some foods, as a supplement, or produced by the body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin.
Vitamin D has many functions in the body, including a role in insulin secretion and glucose metabolism.
The role of vitamin D in people who are at risk for type 2 diabetes remains unclear.
In the current review study, researchers aimed to evaluate whether vitamin D supplementation decreases the risk of diabetes in people with prediabetes.
Eligible published studies were specifically designed and conducted to test the effects of vitamin D versus placebo on newly diagnosed diabetes in adults with prediabetes.
The team focused on new-onset diabetes. They also checked blood sugar control and adverse side effects.
The researchers found vitamin D reduced the risk of diabetes by 15%, with a 3-year absolute risk reduction of 3.3%. The effect of vitamin D did not differ in subgroups.
People assigned to the vitamin D group who maintained a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of at least 125 nmol/L (≥50 ng/mL) compared with 50 to 74 nmol/L (20 to 29 ng/mL) during follow-up, had a reduced risk for diabetes by 76%, with a 3-year absolute risk reduction of 18.1%.
Vitamin D increased the likelihood of regression to normal blood sugar by 30%.
There was no evidence of a difference in the risk for adverse events.
The team concludes that in adults with prediabetes, vitamin D is effective in decreasing the risk for diabetes.
However, studies of people with prediabetes do not apply to the general population. Future work needs to test the effect of vitamin D on diabetes risk in healthy people.
The study was conducted by Anastassios G. Pittas et al and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
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