Background: Although vitamin D has been mechanistically linked to insulin secretion and sensitivity, it remains unclear whether low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels confer an increased risk of impaired glucose metabolism. We evaluated the relationship between vitamin D insufficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin D < 20ng/mL) and abnormal hemoglobin A1c (A1c) (≥6.5%) in community-dwelling older persons and examined whether this relationship differed according to race.
Methods: Participants were 2,193 persons of age 70-79 years at Year 1 (52% women; 37% black) in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study who had clinic visits at Years 2 and 4. Logistic regression analyses, adjusted for potential confounders, were used to evaluate the association between vitamin D insufficiency and abnormal A1c 2 years later. Interaction of race and vitamin D insufficiency was tested.
Results: A total of 665 (30%) and 301 (14%) of the participants had vitamin D insufficiency at Year 2 and abnormal A1c at Year 4, respectively. After controlling for demographics, other potential confounders, and diabetes status at Year 4 (n = 477 diabetics), we found that vitamin D insufficiency was associated with an increased likelihood of having abnormal A1c (odds ratio = 1.56; 95% CI: 1.03-2.37). We also found that this relationship persisted among the 1,765 participants without diabetes in Year 2 (odds ratio = 2.33; 95% CI: 1.00-5.40). Findings did not differ by race.
Conclusions: Vitamin D insufficiency was associated with abnormal A1c levels among black and white older persons independent of diabetes status. Future studies are needed to establish the temporal relationship between vitamin D and A1c in diverse samples of older persons.
Keywords: Hemoglobin A1c; Older persons.; Vitamin D.
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