Type 2 Diabetes: Vitamin D Supplements Do Not Prevent Condition

Vitamin D is well known for its health benefits, especially for promoting healthy bones. It is available in certain foods, supplements and even in our body, which is produced in response to sun exposure. 

However, a new study, called D2d, shows the vitamin may not always be effective in improving health. Researchers found that vitamin D does not prevent type 2 diabetes, Medical News Today first reported

"Observational studies have reported an association between low levels of vitamin D and increased risk for type 2 diabetes,” Myrlene Staten, a D2d project scientist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), said. “However, whether vitamin D supplementation may help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes was not known." 

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, analyzed the health of more than 2,000 adults from 22 sites across the U.S. The researchers looked at each participant’s vitamin D levels and divided them into groups that took either vitamin D or a placebo pill daily.

Nearly 80 percent of participants showed sufficient levels of vitamin D in the beginning of the study. The researchers then followed them for nearly two years.

Analysis showed that diabetes occurred in 293 out of 1,211 participants in the vitamin D group, while 323 out of 1,212 in the placebo group had the disease by the end of the study. 

"When the study ended, we found no meaningful difference between the two groups regardless of age, sex, race, or ethnicity," Anastassios Pittas, lead study author and researcher from the Tufts Medical Center, said. 

The study comes amid the growing use of vitamin D and other dietary supplements in the U.S. The researchers aim to guide people in following the trend. 

The D2d study assessed the effects of taking 4,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D daily, which is higher than the recommended dose. Official guidelines recommend that adults take 600 IU of vitamin D each day.

The supplement can improve the health of the brain and immune and nervous systems. It also promotes cardiovascular health and may potentially prevent cancer. 

However, high doses of vitamin D can also cause side effects. Earlier study showed that too much of the vitamin increases the risk of bone fractures and falls in older women. Some people may get kidney stones.

"While we continue to search for new ways to prevent the disease, we know that lifestyle change or the drug metformin remain effective methods to prevent type 2 diabetes," Griffin Rodgers, director of the NIDDK, said. 

capsule Vitamin D is known for a number of health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health and lower cancer risk. Pixabay