Does Vitamin D deficiency play a role in peripheral neuropathy in Type 2 diabetes?

Diabet Med. 2012 Jan;29(1):43-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03510.x.


Aim: Despite recent reports linking vitamin D deficiency with increased risk of diabetes mellitus and complications, there is limited data on patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. We aimed to evaluate the incidence and associations of vitamin D deficiency in 210 patients with Type 2 diabetes with and without diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Methods: Renal, liver, lipid profile and HbA(1c) were measured. Vitamin D status was determined by measuring 25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Presence or absence of coronary heart disease was determined and early-morning urine microalbumin:creatinine ratio was measured. All patients were assessed clinically using neuropathy symptom score, neuropathy disability score and nerve conduction study.

Results: Eighty-seven patients had diabetic peripheral neuropathy and these patients had significantly longer duration of diabetes and higher HbA(1c). Age, gender, incidence of retinopathy and coronary heart disease were not significantly different from those without neuropathy. Mean (SD) vitamin D was significantly lower in those with neuropathy [36.9 (39.9) nmol/l] compared with those without [58.32 (58.9) nmol/l] and 81.5% of patients with neuropathy had vitamin D deficiency compared with 60.4% of those without. Vitamin D showed significant (P < 0.05) correlations with total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and urine microalbumin:creatinine ratio. Binary logistic regression analysis showed that diabetic peripheral neuropathy was significantly associated with vitamin D deficiency (odds ratio = 3.47; 95% CI = 1.04-11.56, P = 0.043) after inclusion of potential confounders such as duration of diabetes, HbA(1c) and LDL-cholesterol.

Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and further studies are required to confirm if Vitamin D supplementation could prevent or delay the onset.

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / urine
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Creatinine / urine*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / etiology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lipids / blood
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Lipids
  • Creatinine