Low Levels of Vitamin D? You Could Be at Higher Risk for Diabetes

iStock

People who are deficient in vitamin D appear to have a much greater risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes than those with normal vitamin D levels, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Seoul National University in South Korea.

The study involved 903 healthy adults, average age 74, with no signs of prediabetes or diabetes from 1997 to 1999 who were followed by researchers through 2009. During the study period, the researchers measured blood levels of vitamin D, as well as fasting plasma glucose and oral glucose tolerance. They defined “normal” vitamin D levels as 30 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter).

According to the researchers, study participants with vitamin D deficiency – those with blood levels lower than 30 ng/mL – were five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with vitamin D levels above 50 ng/mL. Results of this epidemiological study – which analyzes the distribution and determinants of health and diseases and does not prove cause and effect – were published this week in PLOS One.