Type 2 diabetics are more prone to heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease and stroke. All of these can be linked to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Known risk factors for atherosclerosis are high cholesterol levels, obesity and high blood pressure. A recent study now demonstrates that atherosclerosis and obesity are associated with low vitamin D 25 levels in African-American type 2 diabetics. This study published in the March issue of JCEM was conducted at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The researchers found that low vitamin D levels in diabetics are more common with increasing obesity and also with greater degrees of atherosclerosis of the aorta and carotid arteries (which supply the brain with blood).
Whether low levels of vitamin D cause any of these diseases or are simply another abnormality found in people with these illnesses has yet to be determined. Future studies are being planned in which obese type 2 diabetics are treated with vitamin D to see if these diseases can be improved.
Gary Pepper, M.D. Editor-in-Chief, Metabolism.com