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Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Insulin Resistance, and Vitamin D


Purpose of Review

There is a growing, largely inconsistent, literature on the role of vitamin D in association with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance/insulin secretion, glycemic indices, and complications of type 2 diabetes. Pathophysiologic, bystander, preventive, and treatment roles of vitamin D have all been proposed. In this focused review, we attempt to organize and clarify our current information in this area.

Recent Findings

Clinical study interpretation is difficult because of variability in dosage, dosage form, study duration, and populations studied, as well as recently reported normal human polymorphisms in vitamin D synthesis and catabolism, vitamin D-binding protein, and vitamin D receptors in addition to a host of potential epigenetic confounders. Low vitamin D status appears to be associated with type 2 diabetes and most other insulin resistance disorders reported to date. The extraskeletal benefits of supplementation/repletion in these disorders in our species, with a few highlighted exceptions, remain to be established.


This focused review attempts to summarize our current knowledge in this burgeoning area through a review of key meta-analyses, observational studies, randomized control trials, and Mendelian randomization studies and will hopefully serve as a guide to indicate future research directions and current best practice.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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AS is the corresponding author and reviewed about 65% of the articles cited. PD reviewed about 35% of the articles cited, chiefly those on gout, insulin resistance, and vitamin D, and she also prepared the 1st and 2nd drafts of the summary tables. GB, PD, VL, and AS all reviewed and edited the final presubmission draft.

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Correspondence to Alan Sacerdote.

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Alan Sacerdote, Paulomi Dave, Vladimir Lokshin, and Gül Bahtiyar declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national institutional guidelines).

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Pharmacologic Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

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Sacerdote, A., Dave, P., Lokshin, V. et al. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Insulin Resistance, and Vitamin D. Curr Diab Rep 19, 101 (2019).

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  • Vitamin D status
  • T2DM
  • Insulin resistance
  • Diabetes complications
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Metabolic syndrome