Vitamin D may help to decreases pain in women with type 2 diabetes and depression, according to new research.
The findings, presented at a research conference at Loyola's Health Sciences Campus, noted that while type 2 diabetes is associated with depression and pain very few studies have investigated this aspect of the condition - or assessed how pain may affect the treatment of depression in patients with type 2 diabetes.
While vitamin D has been linked to a wide variety of health benefits, including possible benefits for those with diabetes, no research has as yet evaluated the role of vitamin D supplementation on pain and depression associated with type 2 diabetes, said the authors.
"Pain is a common and often serious problem for women with type 2 diabetes and depression," explained Dr Todd Doyle, who led the study.
"While further research is needed, D2 supplementation is a promising treatment for both pain and depression in type 2 diabetes."
Doyle and his team tested the efficacy of weekly vitamin D2 supplementation (50,000 IUs) for six months on depression in women with type 2 diabetes - finding that depression significantly improved following supplementation.
In addition, 61% of patients reported shooting or burning pain in their legs and feet (neuropathic pain) and 74% reported numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers, and legs (sensory pain) at the beginning of the study. Again, the team reported a significant decrease in both neuropathic and sensory pain at three and six months following vitamin D2 supplementation.
The team have now received funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research to conduct a trial comparing the effects of two different doses of vitamin D3 supplements on health outcomes in women with diabetes.
"Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes," explained PRofessor Sue Penckofer, study co-author. "This NIH grant will allow us to shed greater light on understanding the role that this nutrient plays in managing the health of women with diabetes."