Low Vitamin D, Insulin Resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes?

A recent study done on Australian men was published, which showed a relationship between low Vitamin D level and the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes. This apparent benefit of optimal Vitamin D level is in addition to the several other apparent benefits of having optimal levels, which include immune function and bone health, among others…..

Hmm, interesting. I just came across this study in Australia, which observed lower vitamin D levels being associated with an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. This is interesting to me because I have heard of a relationship between serum ferritin (a storage form of iron) and insulin resistance (the definitive problem of Type 2 Diabetes), but I haven’t heard much about Vitamin D in relation to it.

Here’s the abstract of the study on PubMed:

Low levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin d and active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin d independently associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus in older Australian men: the concord health and ageing in men project.

Hirani V1, Cumming RG, Le Couteur DG, Naganathan V, Blyth F, Handelsman DJ, Waite LM, Seibel MJ.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:
To examine the associations between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels and the active vitamin D metabolite, 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D (1,25OHD), with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) in community-living men aged 70 and older.

DESIGN:
Cross-sectional.

SETTING:
A population-based, cross-sectional analysis of the baseline phase of the Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP), a large epidemiological study conducted in Sydney between January 2005 and May 2007.

PARTICIPANTS:
Community dwelling men aged 70 and older taking part in CHAMP (N = 1,659).

MEASUREMENTS:
Serum 25OHD and 1,25OHD levels, presence of DM, age, country of birth, season of blood collection, sun exposure, body mass index, vitamin D supplement use, statin use, income, measures of health, depression, activity of daily living disabilities, parathyroid hormone, estimated glomerular filtration rate, phosphate, and calcium.

RESULTS:
The prevalence of DM was 20.0%. There was a significant association between low 25OHD and 1,25OHD levels and DM that remained after adjustment for a wide range of confounders and covariates of clinical significance such as comorbidity, renal function, calciotropic hormones, and medications.

CONCLUSION:
25OHD and 1,25OHD levels were associated with DM. The independent association between serum 25OHD and 1,25OHD concentrations and DM raises the question of whether each of the two vitamin D metabolites may influence DM through different biological mechanisms and pathways.

PMID: 25112415

I didn’t yet check into the full-text to see how strong the relationship was between low vitamin D and the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes (this is sometimes reported as “relative risk” or “hazard ratio“). But, this study is a flag to me that optimal Vitamin D may be even more important than I’ve considered (and I’ve considered it very important).

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Maximus Peto is a longevity scientist focused on the biology of aging, health, nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and longevity. In his scientific research, he has scanned 160,000+ scientific articles, read 8,000+ scientific abstracts, and studied 1,500+ full-text scientific publications. Maximus has worked with several leading organizations in aging and longevity, including the SENS Research Foundation, the Methuselah Foundation, and the Life Extension Foundation. He shares his knowledge of keeping people alive and healthy at Long Life Labs.