Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Type 1 Diabetes in Study

The study showed the need to test children with type 1 disease for a lack of vitamin D.

Vitamin D status has been identified as a biomarker for a number of clinical outcomes in recent years, such as bone health, immune status, and cardiovascular health.

A new study just published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice found that a higher-than-expected share of children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) had low levels of vitamin D when tested, including those who would not have been considered at risk for this condition.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing tested 197 children and teens from the Diabetes Center for Children at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Non-fasting blood samples were collected from participants to measure 25-hydoxyvitamin D and blood glucose levels. Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) and other clinical indicators were pulled from patient records.

Results found that 23% of the participants were overweight and 13% were obese. The average A1C was 8.6%, and 40.6% had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ≤50 nmol/L; 49.2% had levels between 51 and 75 mmol/L, and 10.2% had levels > 75 nmol/L. Levels below 50 nmol are less than what is recommended by the Vitamin D Council and the Endocrine Society.

The study found a bivariate relationship between the vitamin D level and A1C almost reached statistical significance at p = 0.057.

“To our knowledge this is the first study that has been adequately powered to examine the association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D and (A1C) in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes,” said Terri Lipman, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, senior author of the paper. “The data suggest the need for monitoring of vitamin D in youth with this disorder.”


Sawah SA, Compher CW, Hanlon AL, Lipman TH. 25-hydroxyvitamin D and glycemic control: a cross-sectional study of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes [published online April 20, 2016]. Diab Res Clin Pract 2016; 115:54 doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2016.03.002

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