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Vitamin D supplements and exercise: Are they required together to improve type 2 diabetes?

Posted on: January 9, 2015   by  Vitamin D Council


Researchers recently prescribed vitamin D supplements and a specific exercise program to patients with diabetes and found that, together, they improved body composition, lipid profiles, and markers of insulin resistance.

In the study, a research team from South Korea randomly assigned 52 elderly women with type 2 diabetes (T2D) to either supplement with 1,200 IU of vitamin D daily, join a circuit training group, supplement with the vitamin D and join the circuit training group, or continue their normal daily life pattern for 12 weeks.

Circuit training is an intense aerobics workout program designed to help individuals build strength and muscle endurance. It is named circuit, because people must perform a series of exercises in the program in sequential fashion.

At the beginning and end of the study, the researchers measured different markers of health, including abdominal fat, lipid count, vitamin D status and markers of insulin resistance such as fasting insulin, glucose and homeostatic model assessment (HOMA-IR).

HOMA-IR is an assessment which quantifies insulin resistance and beta-cell function. A lower number assessed by HOMA-IR indicates improved insulin sensitivity

They found that those in the circuit training group had significant decreases in body weight, fat, body fat percentage, total cholesterol, and BMI.

Fasting insulin, glucose, and HOMA-IR tended to be lower in the vitamin D and circuit training group.

“It was concluded that the 12 weeks of vitamin D supplementation and circuit training would have positive effects on abdominal fat and blood lipid profiles in T2D and vitamin D deficient elderly women,” the researchers commented.

“Vitamin D supplementation was especially effective when it was complemented with exercise training.”


Kim, H et al. Effects of vitamin D supplementation and circuit training on indices of obesity and insulin resistance in T2D and vitamin D deficient elderly women. Journal of exercise nutrition & biochemistry, 2014.

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