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Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome in Studies
Date:6/19/2010

Screening, supplementation could be beneficial, researchers suggest

SATURDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- A pair of new studies has uncovered evidence that low levels of vitamin D could lead to poor blood sugar control among diabetics and increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome among seniors.

Both findings are slated to be presented Saturday at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Diego.

In one study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore reviewed the medical charts of 124 type 2 diabetes patients who sought specialty care at an endocrine outpatient facility between 2003 and 2008.

More than 90 percent of the patients, who ranged in age from 36 to 89, had either vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency, the authors found, despite the fact that they all had had routine primary care visits before their specialty visit.

Just about 6 percent of the patients were taking a vitamin D supplement at the time of their visit, the research team noted, and those who had lower vitamin D levels were also more likely to have higher average blood sugar levels.

"This finding supports an active role of vitamin D in the development of type 2 diabetes," study co-author Dr. Esther Krug, an assistant professor of medicine, said in a news release from the Endocrine Society.

"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," Krug added.

A second study involving nearly 1,300 white Dutch men and women over the age of 65 found almost half were vitamin D-deficient, while 37 percent had metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a grouping of health risk factors, including high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, abnormal cholesterol levels and high blood sugar.

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