No benefit of vitamin D supplements on kidney function in pre-diabetes patients

Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. Could vitamin D supplements help protect kidney health of pre-diabetes patients?

Low blood vitamin D levels have been associated with higher risks of various diseases, including type 2 diabetes and kidney disease. People with type 2 diabetes are also at higher risk of developing kidney disease. In fact, type 2 diabetes is recognised as the leading cause of kidney disease. So, the question is – Would taking vitamin D supplements help in protecting the kidney health of individuals with pre-diabetes?

A recent clinical trial described in CJASN found no significant effects of vitamin D supplementation on kidney outcomes among individuals with pre-diabetes. However, the authors noted that benefits of vitamin D might be greater in people with low blood vitamin D levels and/or reduced kidney function.

Who may benefit from Vitamin D supplementation

Sun H. Kim, MD, MS (Stanford University School of Medicine) and her colleagues conducted a study to evaluate the effects of vitamin D supplementation on kidney health in individuals with pre-diabetes, a condition that increases risk for type 2 diabetes. It included 2,423 adults with overweight/obesity and pre-diabetes, who were randomly given vitamin D3 4000 IU per day or placebo, for a median treatment duration of 2.9 years. Dr. Kim claimed that it is the largest vitamin D diabetes prevention trial to date.

Also read: Vitamin D can shrink fibroid – study reveals

In the course of the study, the researchers observed 28 cases of kidney function worsening in the V D group and 30 in the placebo group. But the average change in kidney function during follow-up was similar in both groups. That means no obvious benefit of vitamin D supplements on kidney function.

Because V D supplements are taken widely, Dr. Kim said it’s difficult for clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation to show a benefit if the population studied is not vitamin D deficient. According to her, the majority of the study population had sufficient blood V D levels and normal kidney function, and about 43% of them was taking outside-of-study vitamin D, up to 1000 IU daily, at study entry.

Among those who were not taking any VD on their own, vitamin D appears to lower the amount of urine protein over time, which could have a beneficial effect on kidney health. This suggests that people with low blood D levels and/or reduced kidney function may benefit from V D supplementation. However, Dr. Kim noted that additional studies are needed to look into this further.

Risk factors and symptoms of kidney disease

The kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from the blood, which are then excreted in your urine. The gradual loss of kidney function can lead to build-up of fluid, electrolytes and wastes in your body. Artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant may be required if chronic kidney disease progresses to end-stage kidney failure. Sadly, signs or symptoms of kidney disease may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired. See a doctor if you have any these signs or symptoms of kidney disease.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • The need to urinate more often
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Persistent itching
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure

In addition to diabetes, factors that may increase your risk of chronic kidney disease include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, recurrent kidney infection, smoking and obesity.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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