Can Vitamin D Reduce Insulin Resistance in Muscles of Type 2 Diabetics?

Elisa Benetti, PhD

Elisa Benetti, PhD Interview with:
Dr. Elisa Benetti PhD
Department of Drug Science and Technology
University of Turin
Turin, Italy What is the background for this study?

Response: The idea for this study comes from the debate on the role of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention or progression of type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Epidemiological data point at a strong association between vitamin D deficiency and T2DM prevalence, however a causal relationship is still lacking.

Here we wanted to explore the effect of vitamin D administration on insulin-sensitivity, particularly focusing on skeletal muscle, which is a crucial tissue in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis and which was suggested to be a tissue target of vitamin D.

Using a murine model of insulin-resistance induced by a High Fat-High Sugar Diet (HFHS), we demonstrated that a vitamin D supplementation (7 μg•kg-1, i.p. three times/week) was able to revert the deleterious effects evoked by the diet, including the increase in body weight and in the HOMA-IR (a parameter of insulin resistance) and the glucose tolerance impairment. Consistently, at the muscle level, vitamin D increased the insulin sensitivity by reducing tissue inflammation and fat accumulation (myosteatosis).
These effects are due, at least in part, to the inhibition exerted by vitamin D on carboxymethyl-lysine (CML) production, one of the main Advanced Glucose End-products (AGEs), and on its receptor RAGE.

Collectively, our data indicate the ability of vitamin D to reduce the development of muscle insulin resistance, the primary defect in T2DM patients. What are the main findings?

Response: This basic research report shows the ability of vitamin D supplementation to reduce myosteatosis and improve insulin sensitivity through the involvement of the AGE/RAGE axis. Therefore our data are suggestive of a possible role of vitamin D in the prevention of T2DM. However, a clinical assessment is strictly required. What should readers take away from this report?

Response: As I affirmed before, this is a basic research report conduct in a preclinical setting, therefore a further validation of our results in clinical study(ies) is necessary for the translation from bench to the bed-side. In particular, in view of the vitamine D action(s) we reported, we hope for ad hoc clinical studies to evaluate the efficacy of a vitamin D supplementation on the prevention of T2DM onset in high risk patients (at pre-diabetic status). What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The dose of vitamin D that we used in this study is higher than that recommended as vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of a vitamin D deficiency. Moreover, we used the already active form of vitamin D. These remarks suggest that a level of vitamin D higher than the physiological one could be necessary to observe the desired metabolic effects herein described.

Citation: Abstract presented at the 2016 EASD

Dr. Elisa Benetti Vitamin D improves insulin sensitivity and myosteatosis in a model of diet-induced insulin resistance

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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