Vitamin D in youth with Type 1 diabetes: prevalence of insufficiency and association with insulin resistance in the SEARCH Nutrition Ancillary Study

Diabet Med. 2013 Nov;30(11):1324-32. doi: 10.1111/dme.12297. Epub 2013 Aug 29.


Aims: To determine the prevalence of plasma vitamin D (25-dihydroxyvitamin D) insufficiency in individuals with Type 1 diabetes and to determine the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of plasma vitamin D with insulin resistance.

Methods: Participants from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study [n = 1426; mean age 11.2 years (sd 3.9)] had physician-diagnosed Type 1 diabetes [diabetes duration mean 10.2 months (sd 6.5)] with data available at baseline and follow-up (approximately 12 and 24 months after baseline). Insulin resistance was estimated using a validated equation. Cross-sectional and longitudinal multivariate logistic regression models were used to determine the association of plasma vitamin D with insulin resistance, adjusting for potential confounders.

Results: Forty-nine per cent of individuals had plasma vitamin D < 50 nmol/l and 26% were insulin resistant. In cross-sectional multivariate analyses, participants who had higher plasma vitamin D (65 nmol/l) had lower odds of prevalent insulin resistance than participants with lower plasma vitamin D (25 nmol/l) (odds ratio 0.70, 95% CI 0.57-0.85). This association was attenuated after additional adjustment for BMI z-score, which could be a confounder or a mediator (odds ratio 0.81, 95% CI 0.64-1.03). In longitudinal multivariate analyses, individuals with higher plasma vitamin D at baseline had lower odds of incident insulin resistance, but this was not significant (odds ratio 0.85, 95% CI 0.63-1.14).

Conclusions: Vitamin D insufficiency is common in individuals with Type 1 diabetes and may increase risk for insulin resistance. Additional prospective studies are needed to determine the association between plasma vitamin D and insulin resistance, and to further examine the role of adiposity on this association.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / etiology*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Male
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D

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