CMJ Literature Review Finds Supplemental Vitamin D Offers Little Benefit in Type 1 Diabetes



BEIJING, September 22, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a disorder in which the immune system inappropriately targets an individual’s own pancreatic β cells, which secrete insulin, a crucial hormone involved in the regulation of glycemia. The loss of β cells in the context of T1D therefore leads to an increase in blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. Over time, high blood sugar can damage organs and the associated complications can shorten an individual’s life expectancy by more than a decade.

The precise causes of T1D are unknown, but there is some evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for developing the disorder. This has led medical researchers to hypothesize that vitamin D supplementation may be an effective way to treat T1D. However, clinical trials conducted so far have yielded inconsistent results. Faced with this lack of clarity, Dr. Zhao Hui Cao and his colleagues from the University of South china and Guilin Medical University decided to summarize the existing literature in their article published in Chinese Medical Journal to January 5, 2021, “We wanted to assess the effects of vitamin D supplementation in patients with type 1 diabetes,“explains Dr Cao.

The team first examined the protective role of vitamin D against β cell dysfunction. Previous studies suggest that 1,25 (OH)2D3, an active form of vitamin D, promotes the secretion of insulin stimulated by glucose in cultured β cells. In addition, experiments on human and mouse cells show that 1,25 (OH)2D3 protects β cells from immune mechanisms involved in T1D, thus supporting the plausibility of vitamin D supplementation as therapy for T1D.

The researchers then turned their attention to epidemiological studies comparing people with and without T1D, in terms of serum levels of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol, a metabolized form of vitamin D. The results of these studies indicate that T1D is associated with elevated levels. lower serum levels of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol, highlighting vitamin D deficiency as a potential risk factor for the disease. Although preliminary studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation decreases blood sugar to some extent, the strong evidence to support this observation is limited. Overall, past and current clinical studies show that vitamin D supplementation does not offer significant benefits in the fight against hyperglycemia.

While emphasizing the need for further studies, Dr Cao concludes by saying: “Longer-term, large-scale studies are needed to assess the role of vitamin D supplementation in the management of type 1 diabetes. ”

The researchers hope that vitamin D supplementation will eventually become a useful adjuvant therapy for type 1 diabetes, while strongly advocating the need for further research in this direction to help realize their hope.


Original Article Title: Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Pancreatic Cell Destruction and Type 1 Diabetes
Newspaper: Chinese Medical Journal
Your press release source: Chinese Medical Journal

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SOURCE Chinese Medical Journal

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