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21-06-2010 | Diabetes | Article

Vitamin D and calcium help lower HbA1c and weight in Type 2 diabetics


Free abstract

MedWire News: Vitamin D and calcium supplementation help reduce glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and body weight in South Asian patients with Type 2 diabetes, show study results.

Devesenan Devendra (Imperial College London, UK) and colleagues report the results of a study of 52 South Asian patients with Type 2 diabetes for at least 3 years and who had HbA1c above 7%. All the participants had vitamin D deficiency (total vitamin D of less than 12.5 nmol/l) or insufficiency (total vitamin D of 12.5–50.0 nmol/l).

The patients were given combined oral vitamin D3 and calcium (400 IU/1200 mg) replacement therapy for 3 months, and levels of total vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, HbA1c, and body weight were measured before and after therapy.

Of note, no patients were taking insulin and those taking oral hypoglycemic medication did not change their treatment during the study period.

The team found that all the patients had normalized levels of vitamin D (50 nmol/l or above) at study completion. In the 29 individuals who were vitamin D deficient, HbA1c was reduced significantly by an average of 0.70% at 3 months. Similarly, in the 23 vitamin D insufficient patients HbA1c was significantly reduced, albeit to a lesser extent, by 0.21% on average.

The vitamin D deficient group also had a significant reduction in body weight over the 3 months of the study, at an average of 0.80 kg, but no significant reduction was seen in the vitamin D insufficient group.

“Our study has important clinical implications given the high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus and vitamin D deficiency in South Asians and… replacement therapy has been found to have beneficial effects on HbA1c,” conclude the authors in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

The findings also support previous research showing a protective effect of vitamin D against Type 2 diabetes, as reported by MedWire News.

The researchers add: “A randomized control trial looking at the effect of vitamin D versus combined vitamin D and calcium replacement on HbA1c and diabetes-related complication would help determine the long-term effects of such supplements and asses the contribution of calcium to these changes.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert