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NIH Funds Vitamin D Diabetes Study

October 21, 2013

2 Min Read
NIH Funds Vitamin D Diabetes Study

BETHESDA, Md. Researchers have started the multi-year Vitamin D and Type 2 Diabetes (D2d) study, the first of its kind to investigate if vitamin D supplementation helps prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in prediabetic adults. The  National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study includes approximately 2,500 people in 20 study sites across the United States.

This study aims to definitively answer the question: Can vitamin D reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?" said Myrlene Staten, M.D., D2d project officer at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of NIH. Vitamin D use has risen sharply in the U.S. in the last 15 years, since it has been suggested as a remedy for a variety of conditions, including prevention of type 2 diabetes. But we need rigorous testing to determine if vitamin D will help prevent diabetes. Thats what D2d will do."

The trial will analyze if 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily can help delay or prevent diabetes in patients with prediabetes. In the double-blind study, half of the participants will receive vitamin D, while the others will take a placebo. Subjects will have check-ups twice yearly. The study will go on until enough participants develop diabetes to make a valid comparison, which researchers estimate will take four years.

About 79 million Americans have prediabetes, and 26 million more have diabetes. According to NIH, researchers speculate vitamin D supplementation may help reduce the risk of diabetes by 25 percent.

Past observational studies have suggested that higher levels of vitamin D may be beneficial in preventing type 2 diabetes, but until this large, randomized and controlled clinical trial is complete, we wont know if taking vitamin D supplements lowers the risk of diabetes," said Anastassios G. Pittas, M.D., the studys principal investigator at Tufts Medical Center, Boston.

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