HealthDay News — Vitamin D3 supplementation can improve glucose metabolism in patients at high risk of diabetes or with newly-diagnosed diabetes, according to a study published online July 1 in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

Patricia Lemieux, from the Université Laval in Québec City, and colleagues conducted a single-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 96 participants at high risk of diabetes or with newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Participants were randomly assigned to either 6 months of 5000 IU vitamin D3 daily or placebo.

The researchers found that the mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D level reached 127.6 ± 26.3 nmol/L and 51.8 ± 16.5 nmol/L in the treatment and placebo groups, respectively, at 6 months. Compared with placebo, vitamin D3 had a beneficial effect on peripheral insulin sensitivity (mean change, 0.92 vs −0.03) and disposition index (mean change, 267.0 vs −55.5) after 6 months.

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“The reason we saw improvements in glucose metabolism following vitamin D supplementation in those at high risk of diabetes, or with newly-diagnosed diabetes, while other studies failed to demonstrate an effect in people with long-standing type 2 diabetes is unclear,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This could be due to the fact that improvements in metabolic function are harder to detect in those with longer-term disease or that a longer treatment time is needed to see the benefit.”

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Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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