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New research finds vitamin D deficiency related to mild cognitive impairment in those with type 2 diabetes

Posted on: February 21, 2014   by  Vitamin D Council


A new study published in the journal Endocrine has found that low vitamin D levels in adults with type 2 diabetes are associated with mild cognitive impairment.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is characterized as a change in cognition serious enough to be noticed but not serious enough to interfere with daily life.

Past research has looked at the link between vitamin D and type 2 diabetes and the link between vitamin D and cognitive impairment. However, not much research has looked at vitamin D’s role in cognitive impairment in type 2 diabetes. Cognitive impairment is common in diabetes, with the diagnosis of diabetes increasing the risk of dementia later in life by 1.6-fold.

So researchers from Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Hospital in China aimed to determine the relationship between vitamin D and MCI in type 2 diabetics.

They looked at 165 patients with type 2 diabetes. Among the group, 95 patients had MCI (a MoCA score of less than 26) and 70 patients did not have MCI (a MoCA score at or above 26). MoCA, or the Montreal Cognitive Assessment score, is a test designed for clinicians to be able to quickly diagnose mild cognitive conditions. Of the 30 points possible in the test, a score of 26 or more is considered normal.

The researchers measured the vitamin D levels in all patients and compared the levels of patients with MCI to the levels of patients without MCI.

The researchers found that diabetic patients with MCI had an average vitamin D level of 17.4 ng/ml compared to 28 ng/ml in patients without MCI.

“In conclusion, our results suggest that levels of serum 25(OH)D are inversely associated with the cognitive impairment in diabetic patients,” the researchers stated. “Vitamin D may be a potential protective factor for cognitive impairment in patients with type 2 diabetes.”


Chen, R. H. et al. Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D are associated with cognitive impairment in type 2 diabetic adults. Endocrine, 2014.

1 Response to New research finds vitamin D deficiency related to mild cognitive impairment in those with type 2 diabetes

  1. EdwardHutchinson

    Given the study was done in Shanghai (latitude 31N) the 25(OH)D levels were generally quite low.
    No MCI group 19.67–34.30 ng/ml those WITH MCI group 13.02–25.92ng/ml.

    We have known for some time inflammation brings about the development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It’s sad to see no effort being made to raise 25(OH)D to the 50ng/ml associated with optimal resolution of inflammation by vitamin d. Only 5 of the 165 study participants reported taking vitamin d supplements (and then given the generally low 25(OH)D levels, at insufficient intakes)

    I note the reports of Sleeplessness were also significantly higher in those with MCI.
    I think the anti-inflammatory role of melatonin isn’t fully appreciated and the importance of getting bright light exposure midday to reset circadian rhythm is another the benefits of regular UV exposure.

    It’s also interesting to note the use of Statins was higher in the MCI group than the group without MCI.
    Cognitive (brain-related) impairment, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion, has been reported by some statin users.

    I wonder how long it will take the medical profession not only to recognise Diabetics are generally vitamin d and magnesium deficient but also to actually do something to ensure when diabetes is diagnosed, Vitamin d and magnesium deficiency/insufficiency are corrected and adequate levels maintained over the longer term?

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