Vitamin D, glucose, insulin, and insulin sensitivity

Nutrition. 2008 Mar;24(3):279-85. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2007.11.006. Epub 2008 Jan 9.


This review examines available evidence of links between abnormalities of glucose and insulin metabolism and vitamin D deficiency. Possible mechanisms of action of vitamin D include stimulation of insulin secretion and effects on insulin sensitivity. Sun exposure usually implies greater outdoor physical activity, which in itself may have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity, unrelated to serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations. The observed associations in humans among vitamin D, insulin, and glucose metabolism have not yet been confirmed by intervention studies and, hence, a causal association has not been established. Clinical trials are needed to determine whether vitamin D treatment of vitamin D-deficient individuals is able to prevent or treat diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D / biosynthesis*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Vitamin D