Vitamin D Helps Middle Aged Men with Insulin Resistance

November 05, 2009

Vitamin D Helps Middle-Aged Men with Insulin Resistance 

 Reference:  Nagpal et al, Diabetic Medicine, 26, 19-27, (2009) 

 A randomized, Placebo-controlled trial is the gold standard of good research.  Dr. Nagpal found 100 slightly pudgy middle-aged men who agreed to participate in this randomized placebo-controlled trial research project.  After randomizing the groups, the treated group got 120,000 IU of vitamin D every other week for three doses.  That is about the equivalent of about 8500 IU a day for 6 weeks.  The treated group had their D level rise from about 14 ng up to about 30 ng, whereas the control group didn’t budge (not surprisingly).   

It should be noted that no one got to 32 ng, much less 40 ng which is the real target as stated in last week’s newsletter.. Here is another look at diabetes and D.  What they find is encouraging.  Oral glucose insulin sensitivity changed dramatically in the treated group.  That means the amount your blood sugar goes up after a meal gets MUCH better when you have adequate Vitamin D on board.  

The two groups had about a 30 point difference in their “OGIS” or oral glucose insulin sensitivity measure.  This was statistically significant. What we know at Sinai is that our average D level in admitted patients through the emergency department is about 14 ngs.  That is very similar to the findings in this study.  This study was done in New Delhi with Indian men who were all slightly overweight and had insulin resistance.  

They had some habits that we don’t see in America that might have confounded the study slightly.  They chewed betel nut, a habit we don’t see much of in America.  However, both groups did it equally. Another encouraging finding is that it was safe to take 120,000 IU every other week for three doses, and that this dosing was just sufficient to get folks to a blood level of 30 ng.    Not one patient got a high blood calcium level and there were no detected side effects found in either group.  What we learned last week is that there continues to be improvement up to blood levels of 40-50 ngs when supplementing lasts up to six months.  

This study only went six weeks.  This supports the concept that we all have a storage tank in our own fat tissue that we have to fill up as we get started with Vitamin D.  Your blood level does not rise until that storage tank is full.  It takes some 300,000-500,000 IU to really fill that tank if you are aiming for a blood level of 30 ng.  It may take more if you have a lot of Vitamin D storage capacity (fat). 

 WWW:  What Will Work for Me?  This is a second study about diabetes being helped with a very simple procedure.  Taking D is very cheap and its effect comes along all by itself.  You have no concerns about getting a low blood sugar.  Keep it up!  It’s good for all of us, even before we become diabetic.

This column was written by Dr. John E Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI.  (262-784-5300)