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Vitamin D supplementation reduces insulin resistance in South Asian women living in New Zealand who are insulin resistant and vitamin D deficient – a randomised, placebo-controlled trial

  • Pamela R. von Hurst (a1), Welma Stonehouse (a1) and Jane Coad (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 28 September 2009

Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) has been shown to correlate with increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Small, observational studies suggest an action for vitamin D in improving insulin sensitivity and/or insulin secretion. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of improved vitamin D status on insulin resistance (IR), utilising randomised, controlled, double-blind intervention administering 100 μg (4000 IU) vitamin D3 (n 42) or placebo (n 39) daily for 6 months to South Asian women, aged 23–68 years, living in Auckland, New Zealand. Subjects were insulin resistant – homeostasis model assessment 1 (HOMA1)>1·93 and had serum 25(OH)D concentration < 50 nmol/l. Exclusion criteria included diabetes medication and vitamin D supplementation >25 μg (1000 IU)/d. The HOMA2 computer model was used to calculate outcomes. Median (25th, 75th percentiles) serum 25(OH)D3 increased significantly from 21 (11, 40) to 75 (55, 84) nmol/l with supplementation. Significant improvements were seen in insulin sensitivity and IR (P = 0·003 and 0·02, respectively), and fasting insulin decreased (P = 0·02) with supplementation compared with placebo. There was no change in C-peptide with supplementation. IR was most improved when endpoint serum 25(OH)D reached ≥ 80 nmol/l. Secondary outcome variables (lipid profile and high sensitivity C-reactive protein) were not affected by supplementation. In conclusion, improving vitamin D status in insulin resistant women resulted in improved IR and sensitivity, but no change in insulin secretion. Optimal vitamin D concentrations for reducing IR were shown to be 80–119 nmol/l, providing further evidence for an increase in the recommended adequate levels. Registered Trial No. ACTRN12607000642482.

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*Corresponding author: Pamela R. von Hurst, fax +64 9 443 9640, email
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