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Vitamin D supplements can improve the lipid Balance in prediabetic people

Vitamin D supplements can improve the lipid Balance in prediabetic peopleThe rate of prediabetes and diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions. Many people even have prediabetes without being aware of it. The condition is characterized by elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but according to a meta-analysis that is published in Frontiers in Nutrition, high-dosed vitamin D supplementation can lower levels of triglycerides in the blood. The meta-analysis supports earlier studies showing that vitamin D is important for the body’s metabolism of fat and carbohydrates. Around half the world’s population lacks this vitamin, and the need for vitamin D is increased in people with prediabetes and diabetes because they have difficulty with utilizing it.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle-associated disease for which it takes years to develop. That is why is it so important to make the necessary lifestyle changes at the first signs of prediabetes, which is a condition that is characterized by overweight (apple-shaped body), high blood sugar levels, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, hypertension, and elevated blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides). Around 50 percent of the world population lacks vitamin D. This is a huge health challenge as previous studies have linked low vitamin D to an increased risk of elevated blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Some studies have even suggested that vitamin D supplementation can improve the blood’s lipid balance in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Still, there are conflicting results when it comes to whether or not vitamin D supplements can improve blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in prediabetic people, which is exactly what the scientists wanted to study in their meta-analysis.

High doses of vitamin D lower triglycerides in the blood

By sifting through different databased, they gathered information from five studies that were published before February 13th, 2022. It turned out that high-dosed vitamin D supplementation resulted in significant reductions in triglyceride levels when compared to placebo. These results are important because there is a relation between elevated triglyceride levels and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
It also turned out that the positive effect was especially significant in overweight participants and in studies of more than one year’s duration.
The daily vitamin D doses that had been given were quite high (71-214 micrograms / 2,857-8.571 IU). A positive effect was observed in European as well as Asian subgroups. No significant effect was observed with regard to levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.
The scientists ended up concluding that high-dosed vitamin D supplementation has the potential to lower levels of triglyceride in people with prediabetes, especially if given for more than a year and in doses that are able to optimize blood levels of the nutrient.
Overweight people and individuals with prediabetes and diabetes seem to have an increased need for vitamin D because they have difficulty with utilizing the vitamin. This is because it is difficult for them to convert and activate vitamin D in the liver and kidneys. The official recommendations for vitamin D, by the way, are as low as 5-20 micrograms daily. EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, has established a safe upper intake limit of 100 micrograms. People with prediabetes and diabetes may need professional help with regard to calculating their vitamin D intake, and it is really important to make sure the blood levels of the vitamin are optimized.

  • In 2011, there were around 366 million type 2 diabetics globally. The number is expected to reach 552 million by 2030
  • Diabetes is associated with impaired quality of life and a large risk of cardiovascular disease, impotence, diabetic neuropathy, amputations, and early death
  • Diabetes comes with a huge socio-economic price tag

How does vitamin D affect our lipid balance?

Most of the body’s cells have vitamin D receptors that are involved in regulating a host of genetic on-off switches. The scientists behind the meta-analysis assume that vitamin D controls triglyceride levels by:

  • Increasing calcium levels
  • Lowering the release of parathyroid hormone (PTH)
  • Regulating the body’s production and breakdown of fat
  • Regulating chronic inflammation and oxidative stress
  • Regulating the activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system (RAAS)
  • Regulating interactions with sex hormones and corticosteroids
  • Improving insulin resistance and insulin levels
  • Counteracting the SREBP1C protein that is involved in the liver’s triglyceride synthesis


Yixue Yang et al. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on the regulation of blood lipid levels in prediabetic subjects: A meta-analysis. Frontiers in Nutrition. 2023

Deirdre K. Tobias et al.  Association of Body Weight With Response to Vitamin D Supplementation and Metabolism. JAMA Network Open, 2023

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