Something like three out of every five patients with type 2 diabetes show signs of vitamin D deficiency, Italian researchers report in the medical journal Diabetes Care.
“Our findings,” Giovanni Targher told Reuters Health, “confirm some previous evidence demonstrating that vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in people with type 2 diabetes.”
Because a lack of vitamin D can negatively affect bone health and have other adverse effects, he added, “widespread screening for vitamin D deficiency or routine vitamin D supplementation should be seriously considered” for people with diabetes.
Targher, at Sacro Cuore Hospital, Negrar, and his colleagues studied blood levels of vitamin D in 459 individuals with type 2 diabetes and a comparison group of 459 matched non-diabetic “controls.”
The rate of vitamin D deficiency (61 percent) was significantly higher in the diabetics than in the controls (43 percent). Diabetics with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to be women, to have poorly controlled diabetes, and to be taking insulin and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
In all, 31 percent of the diabetics had cardiovascular disease, which was strongly associated with low vitamin D levels.
More studies are “obviously necessary to determine whether vitamin D deficiency predicts (the occurrence of) cardiovascular disease,” Targher added, “and to determine whether vitamin D supplementation would be protective against cardiovascular disease.”