Vitamin D and diabetes: Where do we stand?

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2015 May;108(2):201-9. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2015.01.036. Epub 2015 Feb 7.


The potential beneficial effects of supplementing vitamin D or treatment with pharmacological doses of vitamin D in the prevention or cure of diseases like type 1 (T1D) or type 2 diabetes (T2D) remains the subject of debate. Data from epidemiological and association studies clearly indicate a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a higher prevalence of both forms of diabetes. In animal models, vitamin D deficiency predisposes to type 1 and type 2 diabetes, whereas high doses of vitamin D or its active hormonal form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, prevent disease. Large scale, randomized, blinded prospective studies however, remain lacking. Here we discuss the current literature on a role for vitamin D in diabetes. We propose, in particular, to avoid vitamin D deficiency in individuals at risk of developing T1D or T2D. Applying international guidelines on supplementation of vitamin D using small daily doses of vitamin D (500-1000IU) may contribute to reduce the burden of diabetes by preventing vitamin D deficiency. Any other recommendations are at present not supported by data.

Keywords: Clinical and experimental endocrinology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Causality
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*


  • Vitamin D
  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D