Antioxidant effects of vitamins in type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2018 Mar 14;10:18. doi: 10.1186/s13098-018-0318-5. eCollection 2018.


Background: Vitamins are essential micronutrients with antioxidant potential that may provide a complementary treatment for patients with chronic diseases. Our aim was to assess the effect of vitamin supplementation on the antioxidant status and glycemic index of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients.

Methods: We performed a systematic review with meta-analyses. Electronic searches were conducted in PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science (December 2017). Randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of any vitamin or vitamin complex supplementation on antioxidant status as primary outcome were included. The outcomes considered were: reduction of malondialdehyde (MDA); augmentation of glutathione peroxidase (GPx); changes in total antioxidant capacity (TAC), enhance in superoxide dismutase enzyme-SOD, and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Outcomes of glycemic control were also evaluated. Pairwise meta-analyses were performed using software Review Manager 5.3.

Results: Thirty trials fulfilled the inclusion criteria, but only 12 could be included in the meta-analyses of antioxidant outcomes. The most commonly studied vitamins were B, C, D and E. Vitamin E was related to significant reduction of blood glucose as well as glycated hemoglobin compared to placebo, while both vitamins C and E were mainly associated with reducing MDA and TBARS and elevating GPx, SOD and TAC, compared to placebo. However, outcome reports in this field are still inconsistent (e.g. because of a lack of standard measures).

Conclusions: Supplementation of vitamin E may be a valuable strategy for controlling diabetes complications and enhancing antioxidant capacity. The effects of other micronutrients should be further investigated in larger and well-designed trials to properly place these complementary therapies in clinical practice.

Keywords: Antioxidant capacity; Diabetes mellitus; Systematic review; Vitamin.