For Type 2 women diabetics, could lowered blood pressure, an improved mood, and weight loss all accompany taking Vitamin D supplements?
The answer is yes, according to a new pilot study.
Researchers from the Loyola University Chicago Niehoff School of Nursing found that Vitamin D supplements can significantly lower blood pressure and improve moods of women with type 2 diabetes, and help them lose a few pounds.
“Vitamin D supplementation potentially is an easy and cost-effective therapy, with minimal side effects,” said Sue M. Penckofer, Ph.D., R.N., lead author of the study.
In the United States, 10 percent of the population currently has diabetes, and the incidence is projected to increase to 1 in 4 persons by 2050.
Women with type 2 diabetes have worse outcomes than men. The reason may be due to depression, which affects more than 25 percent of women with diabetes. Depression impairs a patient’s ability to manage her disease by eating right, exercising, taking medications, etc.
Investigators also realize that many Americans do not get enough vitamin D, and people with diabetes are at especially high risk for vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. The reasons for this insufficiency include limited intake of foods high in vitamin D, obesity, lack of sun exposure and genetic variations.
The pilot study included 46 women who were an average age of 55 years, had diabetes for 8 years on averages and insufficient blood levels of vitamin D (18 ng/ml). They took a weekly dose (50,000 International Units) of vitamin D.
By comparison, the recommended dietary allowance for women 51 to 70 years is 600 IU per day.
After six months, their vitamin D blood levels reached sufficient levels (average 38 ng/ml) and their moods improved significantly.
For example, in a 20-question depression symptom survey, scores decreased from 26.8 at the beginning of the study (indicating moderate depression) to 12.2 at six months (indicating no depression). The depression scale ranges from 0 to 60, with higher numbers indicating more symptoms of depression.
Blood pressure also improved, with the upper number decreasing from 140.4 mm Hg to 132.5 mm Hg. And their weight dropped from an average of 226.1 pounds to 223.6 pounds.
Given the promise of the pilot study, “Larger, randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the impact of vitamin D supplementation on depression and major cardiovascular risk factors among women with Type 2 diabetes,” said Penckofer.