University of Tennessee Health Science Center researcher Dr. Karen C. Johnson is among principal investigators on a six-year nationwide diabetes prevention clinical trial that released findings today at the American Diabetes Association’s 79th Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.
The Vitamin D and Type 2 diabetes (D2d) study found that vitamin D supplementation does not significantly reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes in individuals with adequate levels of vitamin D but at high risk for the disease.
The findings are also published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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Observational studies had indicated vitamin D might prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, but had not been tested in a clinical trial, Johnson, the College of Medicine Endowed Professor in Women’s Health and professor of Preventive Medicine at UTHSC said in a release.
Johnson led the UTHSC site for the D2d study, which enrolled and followed 32 individuals since 2013.
Funded by The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the D2d study enrolled 2,423 people across the country with impaired glucose tolerance but without a diagnosis of diabetes. It was coordinated by the Division of Endocrinology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
Participants were given 4,000 international units of vitamin D per day or a matching placebo. They received blood tests twice a year for an average of 2 1/2 years to monitor for the development of diabetes. Those receiving vitamin D showed no negative effects from the supplementation, but the vitamin D did not reduce the risk of diabetes by the target level of 25% or more in the study population.
A very small group of D2d participants with extremely low levels of vitamin D did show a reduced risk of developing the disease, but because their numbers were so few, they did not appear to influence the study outcome. Knowing what your Vitamin D level may be important in understanding your risk, the researchers concluded.
Johnson has brought more than $50 million to UTHSC in NIH funding for research as a principal investigator, and more than $45 million in NIH and Department of Defense research funding as a co-investigator, according to the release.