Objective: To determine whether vitamin D3 supplementation improves insulin sensitivity, using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp.
Design: This single-centre, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial randomised 96 participants at high risk of diabetes or with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes to vitamin D3 5000 IU daily or placebo for 6 months.
Methods: We assessed at baseline and 6 months: (1) primary aim: peripheral insulin sensitivity (M-value using a 2-h hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp); (2) secondary aims: other insulin sensitivity (HOMA2%S, Matsuda) and insulin secretion (insulinogenic index, C-peptide area under the curve, HOMA2-B) indices using a 2-h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT); β-cell function (disposition index: M-value × insulinogenic index); fasting and 2-h glucose post OGTT; HbA1c; anthropometry.
Results: Baseline characteristics were similar between groups (% or mean ± s.d.): women 38.5%; age 58.7 ± 9.4 years; BMI 32.2 ± 4.1 kg/m2; prediabetes 35.8%; diabetes 20.0%; 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) 51.1 ± 14.2 nmol/L. At 6 months, mean 25(OH)D reached 127.6 ± 26.3 nmol/L and 51.8 ± 16.5 nmol/L in the treatment and placebo groups, respectively (P < 0.001). A beneficial effect of vitamin D3 compared with placebo was observed on M-value (mean change (95% CI): 0.92 (0.24-1.59) vs -0.03 (-0.73 to 0.67); P = 0.009) and disposition index (mean change (95% CI): 267.0 (-343.4 to 877.4) vs -55.5 (-696.3 to 585.3); P = 0.039) after 6 months. No effect was seen on other outcomes.
Conclusions: In individuals at high risk of diabetes or with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, vitamin D supplementation for 6 months significantly increased peripheral insulin sensitivity and β-cell function, suggesting that it may slow metabolic deterioration in this population.