Background: Epidemiologic data suggest that low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] increases insulin resistance and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Few interventional trials have assessed the effect of vitamin D on insulin metabolism, and published results are discordant.
Objective: The goal of this study was to perform a detailed assessment of the effect of ergocalciferol administration on glucose and insulin metabolism in healthy people with low total 25(OH)D(total).
Design: This was a 12-wk, double-blinded, randomized controlled trial. We enrolled 90 healthy volunteers aged 18-45 y with serum 25(OH)D ≤20 ng/mL (by immunoassay) and administered 50,000 IU ergocalciferol/wk or placebo for 12 wk. Primary endpoints were change in first-phase insulin response and insulin sensitivity as measured by intravenous glucose tolerance test. Secondary endpoints included change in homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance; fasting glucose, insulin, and lipids; body mass index (BMI); and blood pressure.
Results: On-study 25(OH)D(total) was assessed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. In the treated group, 25(OH)D(total) rose from 18 ± 7 to 43 ± 12 ng/mL (P < 0.001) with no change in the placebo group. Despite this increase, at 12 wk, there were no between-group differences in either insulin response or insulin sensitivity; nor were there differences in any measured secondary endpoints. There was no evidence of effect modification by sex, race, glucose tolerance status, baseline 25(OH)D(total), or BMI.
Conclusion: In healthy persons with low 25(OH)D(total), ergocalciferol administration for 12 wk normalizes 25(OH)D(total) but does not improve insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, or other markers of metabolic health.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00491322.
Keywords: diabetes; ergocalciferol; glucose; insulin; insulin resistance; vitamin D.
© 2015 American Society for Nutrition.