Role of vitamin d in insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity for glucose homeostasis

Int J Endocrinol. 2010;2010:351385. doi: 10.1155/2010/351385.


Vitamin D functions are not limited to skeletal health benefits and may extend to preservation of insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. This review summarizes the literature related to potential vitamin D influences on glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. Cross-sectional data provide some evidence that circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) is inversely associated with insulin resistance, although direct measurements of insulin sensitivity are required for confirmation. Reported associations with insulin secretion, however, are contradictory. Available prospective studies support a protective influence of high 25(OH)D concentrations on type 2 diabetes mellitus risk. There is a general lack of consistency in vitamin D intervention outcomes on insulin secretion and sensitivity, likely due to differences in subject populations, length of interventions, and forms of vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms and vitamin D interactions with the insulin like growth factor system may further influence glucose homeostasis. The ambiguity of optimal vitamin D dosing regimens and optimal therapeutic concentrations of serum 25(OH)D limit available intervention studies. Future studies, including cross-sectional and prospective, should be performed in populations at high risk for both vitamin D deficiency and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Well-designed, placebo-controlled, randomized intervention studies are required to establish a true protective influence of vitamin D on glucose homeostasis.