#DoesItWorkSummary: Vitamin D to Counteract Chronic Inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes

By Atanas G. Atanasov

Background: This #DoesItWorkSummary is based on the findings of a systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized clinical trials study published in the Nutrition Reviews journal in May 2018 [1]. Diabetes type 2 is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation, and there is evidence that anti-inflammatory therapies might prevent some of the damaging effects of the disease, for example on retina [2] and kidneys [3]. Vitamin D has diverse anti-inflammatory actions that can be of possible benefit in different inflammation-related diseases [4]. A systematic evaluation of the available human randomized control trial data was done to get overview if vitamin D supplementation has effect on several inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes.

#DoesItWorkSummary: Vitamin D to Counteract Chronic Inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes

Findings: Analyzed were 20 trials involving 1270 people [1]. Vitamin D was orally supplemented to diabetes type 2 patients for 2 to 12 months (in most of the studies the supplementation was done for 3 or 6 months). Several of the measured inflammation markers (including C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alpha, erythrocyte sedimentation rate) decreased upon vitamin D supplementation, and other markers of inflammation such as interleukin 6 and E-selectin did not change. These data suggest possible anti-inflammatory benefits of vitamin D supplementation in type 2 diabetes, but before recommendations can be made it is necessary to also measure relevant disease outcomes, for example total death rates, diabetes-linked cardiovascular deaths or cancer deaths, or the rates and severity of major diabetes-induced complications such as neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy.


1          Mousa, A., Naderpoor, N., Teede, H., Scragg, R. and de Courten, B. (2018) Vitamin D Supplementation for Improvement of Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrition Reviews, 76, 380–394. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nux077.

2          JOUSSEN, A.M., POULAKI, V., MITSIADES, N., KIRCHHOF, B., KOIZUMI, K., DÖHMEN, S. and ADAMIS, A.P. (2002) Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Prevent Early Diabetic Retinopathy via TNF-α Suppression. The FASEB Journal, 16, 438–440. https://doi.org/10.1096/fj.01-0707fje.

3          Sasser, J.M., Sullivan, J.C., Hobbs, J.L., Yamamoto, T., Pollock, D.M., Carmines, P.K. and Pollock, J.S. (2007) Endothelin A Receptor Blockade Reduces Diabetic Renal Injury via an Anti-Inflammatory Mechanism. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 18, 143–154. https://doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2006030208.

4          Krishnan, A. V. and Feldman, D. (2011) Mechanisms of the Anti-Cancer and Anti-Inflammatory Actions of Vitamin D. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 51, 311–336. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010510-100611.

Keywords: #DoesItWorkSummary, vitamin D, chronic inflammation, type 2 diabetes, diabetes-induced complications, neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy, interleukin 6, E-selectin, C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alpha, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized clinical trials.

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