Background/objectives: Vitamin D may modify the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The aim of this review was to examine the association between vitamin D status and incident type 2 diabetes, and the effect of vitamin D supplementation on glycemic outcomes.
Methods: We performed a systematic review of English-language studies using MEDLINE through February 2011. Longitudinal cohort studies reporting associations between vitamin D status and incident type 2 diabetes, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of vitamin D supplementation, were included. Study characteristics and results were extracted, and study quality was assessed.
Results: A total of 8 observational cohort studies and 11 RCTs were included. In meta-analyses of observational studies, vitamin D intake>500 international units (IU)/day decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 13% compared with vitamin D intake<200 IU/day. Individuals with the highest vitamin D status (>25 ng/ml) had a 43% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (95% confidence interval 24, 57%) compared with those in the lowest group (<14 ng/ml). In post hoc analyses from eight trials among participants with normal glucose tolerance at baseline and in three small underpowered (n=32-62) trials of patients with established type 2 diabetes, there was no effect of vitamin D supplementation on glycemic outcomes. In two trials among patients with baseline glucose intolerance, vitamin D supplementation improved insulin resistance.
Conclusions: Vitamin D may play a role in type 2 diabetes; however, to better define the role of vitamin D in the development and progression of type 2 diabetes, high-quality observational studies and RCTs that measure blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and clinically relevant glycemic outcomes are needed.