Vitamin D Supplementation and Cognition in People with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Control Trial

J Diabetes Res. 2019 Oct 30;2019:5696391. doi: 10.1155/2019/5696391. eCollection 2019.


Aim: Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of cognitive decline which adversely impacts self-management of the disease. Evidence also supports a relationship between low serum 25(OH)D levels and poor cognition. The purpose of this trial was to assess vitamin D supplementation on cognitive executive functioning in persons living with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: This was a double-blinded RCT where participants were randomized to receive either weekly vitamin D3 supplementation (50,000 IUs) or a matching comparator (5,000 IUs) for three months. The primary outcome was a battery of neuropsychological tests. Serum 25(OH)D was measured by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Repeated assessments of cognitive measures were collected over 12 weeks using alternative testing forms to minimize practice effects.

Results: Thirty participants were randomized to either the low-dose allocation (n = 15) or the high-dose allocation (n = 15). Most participants were female (83%) and identified as Black (57%). For all cognition measures, there was no statistically significant finding between participants who received high-dose vitamin D supplementation and those who received low-dose supplementation. However, when assessing cognitive function in both groups over time, minimal improvement on the Symbol-Digits, the Stroop Interference Test, and the Trail Making Test Part B was observed.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first randomized control trial to examine the effects of vitamin D supplementation on cognitive function in people with type 2 diabetes. However, no significant differences in cognitive outcomes between participants who received high-dose therapy and those who received low dose were found.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chicago
  • Cholecalciferol / administration & dosage*
  • Cholecalciferol / adverse effects
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy*


  • Biomarkers
  • Vitamin D
  • Cholecalciferol
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D