The role of vitamin D, the so called ‘sunshine vitamin’ in the prevention of various ills is well known, now a new study claims that the nutrient may also ease neuropathic and sensory pain in women with type 2 diabetes and depression.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetics are two times more likely to be plagued with depression than those free from the ailment. It has been established that more than 25 percent women diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are depressed and have worse health outcomes as opposed to men.

Todd Doyle, fellow at the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) stated, “Pain is a common and often serious problem for women with type 2 diabetes and depression. While further research is needed, D2 supplementation is a promising treatment for both pain and depression in type 2 diabetes.”

Study details
The objective of the study was to assess the safety and efficacy of vitamin D supplementationon depression in women with type 2 diabetes. The subjects were administered 50,000 International Units of vitamin D weekly over six months. The study found that vitamin D supplementation significantly improved their depressive symptoms and lifted their mood.

Moreover, 61 percent of the subjects reportedly endured burning or shooting (neuropathic) pains in their legs and 74 percent complained of tingling and numbness (sensory pain) in their legs, hands, and fingers at the onset of the study. The women in the study reported a noteworthy reduction in sensory pain at three and six months after taking vitamin D2 supplementation.

The study’s lead author and professor at Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago, stated, “Vitamin D supplementation potentially is an easy and cost-effective therapy, with minimal side effects. Larger, randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the impact of vitamin D supplementation on depression and major cardiovascular risk factors among women with type 2 diabetes.”

The findings were presented at a research conference at Loyola’s Health Sciences Campus.

This story was originally published on 2013-12-03.

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