Vitamin D Deficiency and Glycemic Status in Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

PLoS One. 2016 Sep 8;11(9):e0162554. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162554. eCollection 2016.


Background: Vitamin D (25OHD) effects on glycemic control are unclear in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Aims of this study were to investigate 25OHD status among children with T1DM and its relationship with insulin sensitivity and glycemic status.

Subjects and methods: A cross sectional study was carried out between 2008-2014. A total of 141 patients had a T1DM >12 months diagnosis and were enrolled in the present study. Of these 35 (24.8%) were migrants and 106 (75.2%) Italians (T2). We retrospectively analyzed data at the onset of the disease (T0)(64 subjects) and 12-24 months before the last visit (T1,124 subjects). Fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), 25OHD levels and daily insulin requirement were evaluated and Cholecalciferol 1000 IU/day supplementation for the management of vitamin D insufficiency (<75 nmol/L) was systematically added.

Results: A generalized 25OHD insufficiency was found at each study time, particularly in migrants. At T0, the 25OHD levels were inversely related to diabetic keto-acidosis (DKA) severity (p<0.05). At T1 and T2, subjects with 25OHD ≤25nmol/L (10 ng/mL) showed higher daily insulin requirement (p<0.05) and HbA1c values (p<0.01) than others vitamin D status. The 25OHD levels were negatively related with HbA1c (p<0.001) and daily insulin dose (p<0.05) during follow up. There was a significant difference in 25OHD (p<0.01) between subjects with different metabolic control (HbA1c <7.5%,7.5-8%,>8%), both at T1 and T2. In supplemented subjects, we found a significant increase in 25OHD levels (p<0.0001) and decrease of HbA1c (p<0.001) between T1 and T2, but this was not significant in the migrants subgroup. Multivariate regression analysis showed a link between HbA1c and 25OHD levels (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Children with T1DM show a generalized 25OHD deficiency that impact on metabolic status and glycemic homeostasis. Vitamin D supplementation improves glycemic control and should be considered as an additional therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / blood
  • Hyperglycemia / complications*
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Italy
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D

Grant support

The paper is part of a project (RF-2010-2304835) funded by the Ministry of Health. The grant had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.