Vitamin D can improve mood and blood pressure in diabetic women

Women who have type 2 diabetes and signs of depression may benefit from taking vitamin D supplements, according to research from Loyola University Chicago Niehoff School of Nursing.

The pilot study included 46 women around the age of 55 who had diabetes for an average of eight years. All of the women also had insufficient blood levels of vitamin D (18ng/ml).

The participants took a weekly 50,000 IU dose of vitamin D for six months – which is significantly more than the recommended dietary allowance of 600 IU per day for women 51 to 70 years old.

Improvements in mood, blood pressure and weight loss

After the six-month period, women reported fewer symptoms of depression. On a 20-question depression symptom survey, for example, scores decreased from 26.8 at the beginning of the study to 12.2 at the end – suggesting that women went from having moderate depression to no depression at all.

Participants also lost weight, dropping from an average of 226.1 pounds to 223.6 pounds. Blood pressure numbers also improved.

"Vitamin D supplementation potentially is an easy and cost-effective therapy, with minimal side effects," Sue M. Penckofer, PhD, RN, lead author of the study and a professor in the Niehoff School of Nursing, said in a press release.

More research on the way

Penckofer recently received a $1.49-million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health to continue her research on vitamin D. She will enroll 180 women with type 2 diabetes, depression and insufficient levels of vitamin D. For six months, some women will receive high-dose vitamin D supplements while others will received a placebo.

"Larger, randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the impact of vitamin D supplementation on depression and major cardiovascular risk factors among women with Type 2 diabetes," she concluded.

Penckofer presented the results of her pilot study at the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

Source: Science Daily

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