Purpose of review: To review the association between vitamin D deficiency and diabetes and cardiovascular risk.
Recent findings: Vitamin D deficiency is newly recognized as a common condition of increasing prevalence worldwide. Clinically, vitamin D has an established role in calcium and bone metabolism and has recently been shown to be associated with increased risk of developing type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as with cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension and obesity. The molecular mechanisms of these associations remain incompletely understood. The active metabolite of vitamin D regulates transcription of multiple gene products with antiproliferative, prodifferentiative, and immunomodulatory effects. Although vitamin D deficiency is frequently unrecognized clinically, laboratory measurement is easy to perform and treatment of vitamin D deficiency is relatively well tolerated and inexpensive. Limited, yet promising, results of proof-of-concept intervention studies of using vitamin D in diabetes will be presented.
Summary: The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and plausible molecular mechanisms linking this to diabetes and cardiovascular risk suggest treatment of vitamin D deficiency to prevent and/or treat diabetes is a promising field to explore.