Can vitamin D slow heart complications from diabetes?

May 12, 2014 by Jim Dryden
Can vitamin D slow heart complications from diabetes?
Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, MD, works with diabetes patient Helen Randall to see whether treatment with vitamin D may help lower her risk for coronary heart disease.

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are evaluating whether vitamin D can slow the development of cardiovascular problems in African-Americans with diabetes. They are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than Caucasians with diabetes.

The researchers are seeking to enroll about 90 African-Americans who are 45 to 80 years old and have type 2 diabetes. Study volunteers must not have heart disease or have suffered a stroke.

"Cardiovascular disease is a major health problem and cause of mortality in African-Americans," said Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, MD, the study's principal investigator. "Compared to Caucasians, African-Americans suffer disproportionately from type 2 diabetes and heart disease."

Nationally, African-Americans with diabetes are 36 percent more likely than Caucasians with diabetes to die of cardiovascular disease. In past studies, Bernal-Mizrachi has found that low levels of vitamin D can double the risk of in patients with . His research also shows that blood vessels near the heart are less likely to clog in people who get adequate levels of the key vitamin.

Study volunteers will be screened at the School of Medicine to determine their vitamin D status. Those with low vitamin D levels will be asked to return for a second assessment, during which investigators will evaluate participants' risk for by measuring electrolyte levels, kidney function, blood cell counts, average and cholesterol levels.

The video will load shortly
Credit: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

"In general, vitamin D deficiency is more common among African-Americans, and that may help explain why they are so much more likely than Caucasians to have severe cardiovascular complications related to diabetes," said Bernal-Mizrachi, associate professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology.

Volunteers who meet the study's criteria will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Those in the first group will take 600 international units of vitamin D daily to try to raise their levels of the vitamin to the standard recommended for good health. Participants in the second study group will take 4,000 international units of the vitamin daily.

Subjects will be evaluated about every two months to measure blood sugar levels, hypertension, heart function and various markers of inflammation—all risk factors for .

"Compared to other potential interventions, vitamin D is very inexpensive and doesn't have many known side effects," said Bernal-Mizrachi. "We believe vitamin D could have a very big impact if the study shows that it can prevent or delay heart problems in African-Americans with ."

Explore further: Vitamin D may prevent clogged arteries in diabetics

Related Stories

Vitamin D may prevent clogged arteries in diabetics

November 13, 2012
People with diabetes often develop clogged arteries that cause heart disease, and new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that low vitamin D levels are to blame.

Low levels of vitamin D are associated with mortality in older adults

October 2, 2012
Low levels of vitamin D and high levels of parathyroid hormone are associated with increased mortality in African American and Caucasian older adults, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's ...

More severe heart disease found in patients with vitamin D deficiency

March 27, 2014
Vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for heart disease with lower levels of vitamin D being associated with a higher presence and severity of coronary artery disease, according to research to be presented at ...

Type 1 diabetes: Vitamin D deficiency occurs in an early stage

February 27, 2014
Vitamin D is known as a major regulator of calcium levels and bone metabolism. Furthermore, it also influences the immune system. Previous studies have shown that patients with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes have significantly ...

Testing whether vitamin D delays onset of diabetes

January 9, 2014
Northwestern Medicine is looking for volunteers to take part in the first definitive, large-scale clinical trial to investigate if a vitamin D supplement helps to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in adults who ...

Can citrus ward off your risk of stroke?

February 14, 2014
Eating foods that contain vitamin C may reduce your risk of the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting ...

Recommended for you

Scientists discover a new way to treat type 2 diabetes

July 21, 2017
Medication currently being used to treat obesity is also proving to have significant health benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes. A new study published today in Molecular Metabolism explains how this therapeutic benefit ...

Alzheimer's drug cuts hallmark inflammation related to metabolic syndrome by 25 percent

July 20, 2017
An existing Alzheimer's medication slashes inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome, a potential therapeutic intervention for a highly dangerous condition affecting 30 percent of adults in the ...

Diabetes or its precursor affects 100 million Americans

July 19, 2017
Almost one-third of the US population—100 million people—either has diabetes or its precursor condition, known as pre-diabetes, said a government report Tuesday.

One virus may protect against type 1 diabetes, others may increase risk

July 11, 2017
Doctors can't predict who will develop type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the cells needed to control blood-sugar levels, requiring daily insulin injections and continual monitoring.

Diabetes complications are a risk factor for repeat hospitalizations, study shows

July 7, 2017
For patients with diabetes, one reason for hospitalization and unplanned hospital readmission is severe dysglycemia (uncontrolled hyperglycemia - high blood sugar, or hypoglycemia - low blood sugar), says new research published ...

Researchers identify promising target to protect bone in patients with diabetes

July 7, 2017
Utilizing metabolomics research techniques, NYU Dentistry researchers investigated the underlying biochemical activity and signaling within the bone marrow of hyperglycemic mice with hopes of reducing fracture risks of diabetics

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.