High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation in People With Prediabetes and Hypovitaminosis D

  1. Theodore C. Friedman, MD, PHD
  1. Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine, Charles R. Drew University, Los Angeles, California
  1. Corresponding author: Mayer B. Davidson, mayerdavidson{at}cdrewu.edu.


OBJECTIVE Low vitamin D levels predict the development of diabetes. This double-blind, randomized, control study in subjects with prediabetes and hypovitaminosis D evaluated whether high doses of vitamin D for 1 year affected insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, and the development of diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS A total of 1,551 subjects ≥40 years of age not known to have diabetes were screened with A1C levels. Subjects with A1C levels of 5.8–6.9% underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Subjects with prediabetes and 25-OH vitamin D (25-OHD) levels <30 ng/mL were randomized to receive weekly placebo (n = 53) or vitamin D (n = 56) with doses based on body weight and baseline 25-OHD levels. OGTTs were performed 3, 6, 9, and 12 months later. Insulin secretion and sensitivity were measured, and the proportion of subjects developing diabetes was assessed.

RESULTS 25-OHD levels rapidly rose from 22 to nearly 70 ng/mL after vitamin D supplementation with a mean weekly dose of 88,865 IU. There were no differences between the placebo and vitamin D groups regarding fasting plasma glucose, 2-h glucose, or insulin secretion and sensitivity or in the percent developing diabetes or returning to normal glucose tolerance. No subjects experienced increased serum or urinary calcium levels. At 12 months, A1C levels were significantly slightly less (0.2%) in the vitamin D group.

CONCLUSIONS In individuals with prediabetes and hypovitaminosis D, doses of vitamin D supplementation designed to raise serum 25-OHD levels into the upper-normal range for 1 year had no effect on insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, or the development of diabetes compared with placebo administration.


  • Received June 21, 2012.
  • Accepted August 7, 2012.

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