How do vitamin D supplements prevent diabetes?

Vitamin D does not help prevent type 2 diabetes, study finds. [사진=게티이미지뱅크]

Although vitamin D has several other benefits, a study finds that it does not help prevent type 2 diabetes, which usually occurs in adulthood. Based on the papers of Japanese researchers published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the American health medicine webzine ‘Health Day’ reported on the 26th (local time).

A research team led by Professor Tetsuya Kawahara at the Kitakyushu University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Japan conducted a clinical trial to determine whether Eldecalcitol, an active vitamin D supplement used in the treatment of osteoporosis in Japan, is effective in preventing type 2 diabetes. From 2013 to 2019, 1256 patients with impaired glucose tolerance were recruited from three hospitals in Japan. They were adults over 30 years old, with an average age of 61 years. About 46% were female and 59% had a family history of type 2 diabetes. They were screened for diabetes every 3 months over 3 years.

The researchers compared the effects of 630 randomized subjects taking edirol and another 626 taking a placebo. About 12.5% ​​of the edirol group had diabetes, while the placebo group had diabetes in 14%, which was not significantly different. The return to normal blood glucose level was about 23% in the edirol group and about 20% in the placebo group.

After adjusting for other influencing factors, the researchers found that in some prediabetes patients, when edirol was prescribed, type 2 diabetes could be prevented. However, the researchers said in a press release that the results are unclear and more research is needed.

The study also found that mineral density in the lower back and hip bones was significantly increased in those who took vitamin D. It is not yet clear whether the dosage chosen by the researchers is suitable for preventing diabetes, and whether the results can be applied to all ethnic groups.

About 480 million people worldwide have type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that by 2045 that number will rise to 700 million. Also, there are about 500 million people who are not diabetic but have low glucose tolerance or have pre-diabetes.

Weight loss and exercise may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, new strategies are being sought because of the lack of sustainability. Professor Tatiana Cristides of Queen Mary University of London, UK, said in the BMJ editorial that some questions remain. She questioned whether vitamin D supplementation could be more effective for certain populations, and whether starting treatment at a longer or younger age could be beneficial. “Health care professionals should continue to discuss the musculoskeletal health benefits of vitamin D with patients and support them in achieving and maintaining lifestyle changes known to reduce the development of type 2 diabetes,” he said. .

The paper can be found at the following link (https://www.bmj.com/content/377/bmj-2021-066222).

By Han Gun-pil, reporter hanguru@kormedi.com

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