Can vitamin D help prevent type-2 diabetes?

A clinical trial that will include 2,500 people will see if vitamin D has an impact on insulin secretion.

Hyattsville, Md. (WUSA) -- Donald Brew is one of many people in our area who is at high risk for developing diabetes. Before now, he didn't pay close attention to his diet and exercise.

Brew says, "I don't even have a fruits and vegetables app on my phone, but I have a McDonald's app."

After a trip to his doctor, he was asked to join a clinical trial being conducted at MedStar Health Research Institute.

This is where he first learned that he is prediabetic, a condition where insulin production in the body is abnormal. He is very close to becoming a type-2 diabetic.

Type 2 diabetes is very prevalent in our region and 86-million Americans are at high risk of the condition. So imagine if a common vitamin could hold the key for preventing diabetes. Local experts are looking into this possibility.

Dr. Vanita Aroda, Physician Investigator and Scientific Director of MedStar Community Research Clinical Research Center at MedStar Health Research Institute says, "It looks like vitamin D might, again just might, have effects on the pancreas to help induce insulin secretion."

It might also make the body more responsive to it's own insulin.

"But these are just in animal studies, and so the way to understand whether vitamin D has an effect is to truly study it in a forward moving fashion," adds Dr. Aroda.

The study is called the D2d study and will include 2,500 people. Participants like Donald take a pill everyday for 3 years. Some are actual vitamin D pills, others are placebos, or fakes. The participants don't know which ones they are taking.

Experts will then compare the two groups to see if the vitamin D pills help slow the progression towards diabetes.

Dr. Aroda says, "We wanna make sure that our communities are represented."

Brew says, "It's amazing how it motivates you..."

Donald is motivated to complete the trial, not only improve his own health, but to help others prevent diabetes.

"If others benefit, man, that is the greatest to me," adds Brew.

The multi-year Vitamin D and Type 2 Diabetes study is taking place at 20 study sites across the country.

To find out if you are eligible to enroll, email or call 301-560-2935.


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