Vitamin D Lessens Pain in Women With Diabetes, Depression

December 10, 2013

The use of vitamin D decreases pain in women who have type 2 diabetes mellitus and depression, according to a recent study, and more research is in the works.

The use of vitamin D decreases pain in women who have type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and depression, according to a recent study.

Doyle and associates tested the efficacy of weekly vitamin D2 supplementation (50,000 IU) for 6 months on depression in women with type 2 DM. Depression improved significantly after supplementation.

At the beginning of the study, 61% of patients reported neuropathic pain-shooting or burning pain in their legs and feet-and 74% of patients reported sensory pain-numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers, and legs. Neuropathic and sensory pain decreased significantly at 3 and 6 months after vitamin D2 supplementation.

Although type 2 DM is associated with depression and pain, it was noted, few studies have looked at how pain may affect the treatment of depression in patients with type 2 DM and no studies have evaluated the role of vitamin D supplementation in this association. Lead author Todd Doyle, PhD, suggested that although more research is needed, D2 supplementation shows promise as a treatment for both pain and depression in type 2 DM.

In addition, Loyola researchers have received National Institute of Nursing Research funding to conduct a trial that compares the effects of two different doses of vitamin D3 supplements on health outcomes in women who have DM. Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, a study coauthor, stated that the NIH grant will allow the researchers to shed more light on the role that vitamin D plays in managing the health of women with DM.

The current study was conducted at Loyola University Chicago, and the findings were presented at a research conference at Loyola’s Health Sciences Campus.