Diabetic patients with low serum levels of vitamin D may have added difficulty controlling their blood sugar, according to a new Johns Hopkins study.
Lead author Esther Krug, an assistant professor of medicine at the university’s School of Medicine, and her colleagues analyzed the blood work of 124 patients with type 2 diabetes who visited their endocrinologist between 2003 and 2008.
They found that 91 percent of patients, aged 36 to 89, were suffering from either a vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Only 6 percent of respondents were taking nutrient supplements at the time of the study.
Furthermore, patients with the lowest levels of vitamin D had the highest hemoglobin A1c value, a gauge of blood sugar control. African American diabetics, on average, had the lowest serum levels of the nutrient and the poorest blood sugar control.
"This finding supports an active role of vitamin D in the development of type 2 diabetes," said Krug. "Since primary care providers diagnose and treat most patients with type 2 diabetes, screening and vitamin D supplementation as part of routine primary care may improve health outcomes of this highly prevalent condition."