A simple vitamin supplement might prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in high-risk individuals with prediabetes, find a new study published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
An analysis of clinical studies found that increasing vitamin D consumption was associated with a 15% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes.
The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in some foods. It can also be taken as a supplement or made by the body when ultraviolet rays from the sun hit the skin.
The body uses vitamin D for a variety of processes, including the release of insulin and the metabolism of glucose.
Observational studies have shown a link between a high risk of developing diabetes and a low blood level of vitamin D.
Tufts University Medical Center researchers analyzed the results of three separate clinical studies looking at the effects of vitamin D supplements on the incidence of diabetes.
Over a three-year follow-up period, the authors found that new-onset diabetes happened in 22.7% of adults who got vitamin D and in 25% of those who got a placebo. This is a 15% relative reduction in risk.
The authors assert that extending their results to the more than 374 million adults who have prediabetes globally shows that a low-cost vitamin D treatment might prevent the onset of diabetes in more than 10 million individuals.
Authors from University College Dublin and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland point out in an editorial that excessive vitamin D consumption has been shown to have major negative consequences in the past.
They say that professional groups that support vitamin D therapy have a duty to tell doctors about both how much vitamin D they need and how much is safe.
They caution that this extremely high-dose vitamin D treatment may damage some people as well as prevent type 2 diabetes in certain cases.