Millions of people in the US have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels run higher than normal though they are not so high as in diabetes. Researchers are interested in ways to keep prediabetes from progressing to outright diabetes. Studies have shown that people with low levels of vitamin D circulating in their bloodstreams seem more susceptible to prediabetes. But there has been no evidence that giving people vitamin D supplements will reverse the problem.
Now, a study from India suggests that those people who have low levels of vitamin D may be able to reverse prediabetes with vitamin D and calcium supplements. Investigators randomly assigned 125 subjects with prediabetes to receive either vitamin D plus calcium or calcium alone.
Vitamin D3 was given as doses of 60,000 International Units once weekly for eight weeks. People getting vitamin D were significantly less likely to have diabetes at the end of two years than those taking calcium alone. Although the study was small, it suggests that vitamin D supplements might reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar levels in people prone to diabetes.
[International Society of Endocrinology, June 21, 2014]
In The People’s Pharmacy perspective, this research is very interesting and should be followed up. Diabetes is increasing at epidemic rates, and supplementing with vitamin D is one of the simpler interventions that might slow the increase. To learn more about vitamin D, check out our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.