Possible link between vitamin D deficiency and diabetes: Korean population-based study

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Low vitamin D levels were associated with compensative insulin increase and ongoing increases in insulin resistance. ©iStock
Low vitamin D levels were associated with compensative insulin increase and ongoing increases in insulin resistance. ©iStock
Insufficient vitamin D has been associated with diabetes by way of altering insulin secretion and resistance, but individual differences in vitamin D sensitivity mean that there are variations in its effect.

As such, researchers from the university conducted a large-scale population-based analysis using data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES), in order to explore the relationship between serum vitamin D status and the various diabetes indices.

The study included 15,169 non-diabetic participants (6,336 male and 8,833 female) with an average age of 44 years.

However, low levels of vitamin D were associated with compensative insulin increase and ongoing increases in insulin resistance, leading them to conclude that vitamin D deficiency influences the occurence of diabetes.

“In the progress and occurrence of type 2 diabetes mellitus, both insulin resistance and insulin secretion occur, although which precedes the other is not yet fully understood," ​they wrote.

"Likewise, vitamin D deficiency is known to be relate to the occurrence of diabetes. Hence, it can be assumed that vitamin D deficiency has an influence on the occurrence of diabetes."

Age and activity

It was observed that the female subjects displayed lower vitamin D levels, as did the subjects aged between 20 and 39 years old, those who had low physical activity levels, and subjects whose BMI was below 21.

It was also found that apart from sex, age, physical activity level and BMI, higher household incomes and education levels were associated with lower vitamin D levels in the subjects.

Though a definitive reason for this has not been observed, the study hypothesised that it could be due to older folks’ tendency to take vitamin D supplements, more so than younger people.

The paper concluded by cautioning that the “definite correlation between vitamin D deficiency and diabetes is not fully understood yet, and additional large-scale studies are needed to analyse the diverse variances that affect the occurrence of diabetes in various ethnic populations”​.

 

Source: Primary Care Diabetes

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pcd.2017.07.002

“Association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and diabetes-related factors in Korean adults without diabetes: The Fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2010–2012”

Authors: Hyunah Kim, et al.

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