The results of epidemiological and several interventional studies suggest an association between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of developing insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Various studies have indicated that a lack of vitamin D must be regarded as a pathogenic factor for type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, since a vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D < 20 ng/mL) increases insulin resistance and reduces insulin secretion from beta cells in the pancreas. A recent study by Pittas et al. did not show a clear preventive effect of vitamin D supplementation with respect to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In terms of this study, it must be remembered that more than 70% of the participants in both the vitamin D supplement group and the placebo group did not have a vitamin D deficiency. In medical and pharmaceutical practice, more attention should be paid to vitamin D deficiency than has previously been accorded. Vitamin D status can be assessed objectively when necessary by laboratory testing of the serum 25(OH)D levels. Type 2 diabetes patients benefit from improving their vitamin D status with respect to their glucose metabolism and decreased mortality risk. Patients with insulin resistance who are vitamin D deficient should be treated with an appropriate amount of vitamin D to achieve circulating levels of 25(OH)D of 40-60 ng/mL.
Keywords: 25-hydroxyvitamin D; glucose metabolism; insulin resistance; prediabetes; type 2 diabetes; vitamin D.