Research from the University of Cambridge has cast doubt upon the hypothesis that vitamin D could be a causal factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Previously, a low level of a marker of vitamin D, known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D, has been associated with increased risks of developing type 2 diabetes. The study investigated whether four different gene variants which control levels of vitamin D in the blood were linked with increased rates of type 2 diabetes.
The research, which was a mendelian randomisation study, showed no significant increase in risk associated with the gene variants related to vitamin D and concluded that the results suggest that vitamin D is unlikely to be a cause for the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Previous research by Vimaleswaran KS, Berry DJ, Lu C, et al., published in the PLoS One Medicine journal in February 2013, investigated vitamin D’s links with obesity and concluded that it was most likely that obesity led to lower levels of circulating vitamin D, rather than the other way round.
The study appears in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal is accompanied by an editorial piece by Dr. Brian Buijsse, of the German Institute of Human Nutrition, who adds that care needs to be taken in conclusions drawn from mendelian randomisation studies but that: “The results of a meta-analysis of 35 short-term trials, however, do not offer much hope that vitamin D supplementation can be used to prevent type 2 diabetes.”

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