Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

Another Reason to Get Your Vitamin D: Stopping

Vitamin D continues to amaze researchers for all of its abilities. Add another to its already impressive list: protecting eyesight. That’s because a recent presentation showed that being deficient in vitamin D – a common occurrence, especially in Northern climates – is linked to diabetic retinopathy.

The researchers examined data from 13 studies, totaling over 9,000 participants with diabetes. They found an association between those with vitamin D deficiency and diabetic retinopathy. They reason that being low in vitamin D may likely make you more susceptible to this condition, and remark that supplementation as a preventive measure should be investigated.

In some ways, this report isn’t surprising. We know that vitamin D recommendations have historically been set too low. Supplementing daily with vitamin D is one of the best ways to protect good health, whether the concern is cancer, joint health, diabetes, or cognition.

The Study: The Relationship between Vitamin D Deficiency and Diabetic Retinopathy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Upala S, Zhang J, Sanguankeo A. The relationship between vitamin D deficiency and diabetic retinopathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Endocr Pract. 2016;22 (Supp 2); Abstract 309

Objective: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the leading cases of blindness throughout the world. The role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy remains an area of debate. The purpose of this study was to comprehensively determine the strength of association between vitamin D deficiency (VDD) and DR. The secondary objective of this study was to determine if there exists any significant difference in serum vitamin D levels between patients with DR and control group patients. Methods: Two authors independently searched published studies indexed in the MEDLINE and EMBASE from their date of inception to July 2015. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies that assessed the association between diabetic retinopathy and vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is defined as a serum level less than 20 ng/mL. Optimal vitamin D level was defined as a serum level greater than 30 ng/mL. Pooled odds ratios (OR) and mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using a random-effect, Mantel-Haenszel analysis. Results: The initial search yielded 122 articles. Data were extracted from 13 studies involving 9,350 participants with diabetes mellitus who had undergone assessment for both DR and VDD. There is a statistically significant association between diabetic retinopathy and vitamin D deficiency with a pooled OR of 1.44 (95% CI: 1.15 to 1.81, P=0.001). There was also a statistically significant lower serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level in patient subgroups with diabetic retinopathy vs control groups with a mean difference (MD) of -2.25 ng/mL (95% CI: -3.64 to -0.87, P=0.001) Conclusion: Our meta-analysis and systemic review demonstrates a significant association between VDD and DR and demonstrates a statistically significant difference in mean serum vitamin D levels between DR and non DR patients. Vitamin D supplementation as a protective mechanism against the development and progression of DR, particularly in elderly female patients, warrants further investigation.




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