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Vitamin D prevents dialysis complications in diabetes

Posted on: April 8, 2013   by  Vitamin D Council


Vitamin D supplementation decreased the risk of complications in dialysis for patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers report at the National Kidney Foundation meeting this week.

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of end-stage renal disease, or kidney failure, in which the kidneys are no longer able to filter out toxins and other waste products on a daily basis. A common treatment for end-stage renal disease is hemodialysis. In hemodialysis, the blood flows through a filter that removes waste and extra fluids.

In order to undergo hemodyalysis, you need a vascular access, which is a way to reach the blood vessels for hemodialysis. There are only a few sites on the body for vascular access, so preventing infection and damage to the area is important to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

Karina Vasquez, MD, and colleagues at the University of Texas performed a retrospective study in which 256 dialysis patients were treated with vitamin D2; 155 of the patients had type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that treatment with vitamin D2 was associated with a significantly reduced risk of vascular access dysfunction (p<0.01).

Vascular access for hemodialysis can be especially problematic for patients with diabetes because they are already at risk for vascular access complications.

The authors call for randomized controlled trials with a larger sample size to confirm their observational study results.


Fiore K. Vitamin D curbs dialysis access problems in diabetes. MedPage Today. April 4, 2013.

Leehey DJ. Hemodialysis in the diabetic patient with end-stage renal disease. Ren Fail. 1994.

Treatment methods for kidney failure: Hemodialysis. National Kidney and Urologic Disease Information Clearinghouse. Dec 2011.

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