Vitamin D Status, Calcium Intake and Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes: An Unresolved Issue

Nutrients. 2019 Mar 16;11(3):642. doi: 10.3390/nu11030642.


The relationship between vitamin D status, calcium intake and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a topic of growing interest. One of the most interesting non-skeletal functions of vitamin D is its potential role in glucose homeostasis. This possible association is related to the secretion of insulin by pancreatic beta cells, insulin resistance in different tissues and its influence on systemic inflammation. However, despite multiple observational studies and several meta-analyses that have shown a positive association between circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and the risk of T2D, no randomized clinical trials supplementing with different doses of vitamin D have confirmed this hypothesis definitively. An important question is the identification of what 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are necessary to influence glycemic homeostasis and the risk of developing T2D. These values of vitamin D can be significantly higher than vitamin D levels required for bone health, but the currently available data do not allow us to answer this question adequately. Furthermore, a large number of observational studies show that dairy consumption is linked to a lower risk of T2D, but the components responsible for this relationship are not well established. Therefore, the importance of calcium intake in the risk of developing T2D has not yet been established. Although there is a biological plausibility linking the status of vitamin D and calcium intake with the risk of T2D, well-designed randomized clinical trials are necessary to answer this important question.

Keywords: calcium intake; dairy products; type 2 diabetes; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Calcium / administration & dosage*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications


  • Blood Glucose
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Calcium