The link between depression and type 2 diabetes in women has long been recognised but previous research has suggested that pain may be the cause of both of these. However, a new study has found that both pain and depression in women with type 2 diabetes can be reduced if supplements of vitamin D are taken.
This research was presented at a research conference at Loyola's Health Sciences Campus. The research was carried out by Todd Doyle and his team of researchers of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
The research team noted that there were not many previous studies that have looked into how the treatment of depression in individuals with type 2 diabetes has been affected by pain and that none of these studies have determined the role that supplements of vitamin D plays in the association of pain and depression with type 2 diabetes. The study carried out research into how vitamin D affected women with type 2 diabetes who were also suffering from depression.
At the beginning of the study neuropathic pain was reported by 61% of women. This type of pain included shooting or burning pain in their legs and feet. 74% reported sensory pain such as numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers and legs.
As part of the study the women were required to take a 50,000 IU vitamin D2 supplement weekly for a period of 6 months. At the end of the study depression levels in the women had improved and the women who had reported pain at the beginning of the study had seen their symptoms decreased.
Todd Doyle acknowledges that further research is needed but the initial findings have shown that taking a vitamin D supplement may be promising as a successful treatment for both pain and depression in women with type 2 diabetes.
A further study is planned using funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research which is a part of the National Institute of Health (NIH). This will involve women using two different doses of vitamin D3 supplements to investigate how the doses affect health outcomes of women with type 2 diabetes which will give researchers a better understanding that the role vitamin D plays in managing the health of women with type 2 diabetes.
The benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important for the body in regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate. These are used by the body to maintain the health of bones and teeth.
Vitamin D deficiencies have been shown in previous studies to have a negative impact on health. A study that was recently reported by Medical News Today has suggested that damage to the brain can be caused by low levels of vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency has been shown in other research to be linked to an increased risk of anemia in children and faster aging of bones.
The majority of vitamin D that the body needs is absorbed from the sun but there are foods that provide a source of vitamin D and these include:
- Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines
- Fortified fat spreads
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Powdered milk