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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