Type 2 Diabetes Patients Lack Vitamin D, Study Shows

Research presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Diego, California, suggests vitamin D may play a more active role in diabetes development and control than previously thought.

Research presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Diego, California, suggests vitamin D may play a more active role in diabetes development and control than previously thought.

Vitamin D significantly impacts blood glucose control among patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Diego, California.

Among the 124 patients with type 2 diabetes who visited an endocrine clinic between 2003 and 2008, 91.1% showed some level of vitamin D deficiency. Despite receiving regular treatment from their primary care physicians, only 8 (6.4%) of the patients involved in the study were taking vitamin D supplements.

Although no cause and effect relationship could be identified, researchers did note an inverse relationship between patients’ serum vitamin D and blood sugar control measurements. The relationship was more pronounced in African-American patients, who tended to have greater deficiency and poorer control of their condition.

The high prevalence of deficiency, coupled with an apparent lack of awareness among heath care professionals, may indicate a need for pharmacy-based interventions to incorporate vitamin D supplements as part of a diabetes management strategy.

“Screening and vitamin D supplementation as part of routine primary care may improve health outcomes of this highly prevalent condition,” the researchers wrote.

A prohormone, vitamin D is readily available through sun exposure, from dietary means, or from OTC supplements, yet the deficiency rate among Americans is at least 50%, according to the June issue of Endocrine News, an Endocrine Society publication.

In addition to its connection to diabetes and glycemic control, vitamin D has also been shown to protect against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, falls and fractures, and infectious disease.

Resources for Pharmacists

Pharmacy Times recently published “The Important Role of Vitamin D,” a pharmacist’s guide to vitamin D. Written by Yvette C. Terrie, BSPharm, RPh, the article provides information on risk factors for vitamin D deficiency and dosing guidelines for supplementation in specific patient populations.

For a clinical perspective on the benefits of vitamin D, read “Blossoming Vitamin D Benefits,” the cover story from the June issue of Endocrine News.

Additional coverage of the Endocrine Society’s 2010 annual meeting is available at HCPlive’s Conference 360 recap of the event.

For other articles in this issue, see:

  • 5 Lifestyle Factors Account for 80% of Stroke Risk
  • As Population Ages, Opportunity Knocks for Pharmacists
  • Medicare Waste Reduction Plan Draws NCPA Criticism