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Diabetologia. 2012 Aug;55(8):2173-82. doi: 10.1007/s00125-012-2544-y. Epub 2012 Apr 15.

Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and the risk of type 2 diabetes: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort and updated meta-analysis of prospective studies.

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Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Box 285, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.



Epidemiological evidence is suggestive, but limited, for an association between circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and risk of type 2 diabetes. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that included new data from previously unpublished studies.


Using a nested case-cohort design in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk study, we identified a random subcohort and incident type 2 diabetes cases occurring between baseline (1993-1997) and 2006. In the Ely prospective study we identified incident type 2 diabetes cases between 1990 and 2003. We conducted a systematic review of prospective studies on 25(OH)D and type 2 diabetes published in MEDLINE or EMBASE until 31 January 2012, and performed a random-effects meta-analysis combining available evidence with results from the EPIC-Norfolk and Ely studies.


In EPIC-Norfolk, baseline 25(OH)D was lower among incident type 2 diabetes cases (mean [SD] 61.6 [22.4] nmol/l; n=621) vs non-case subcohort participants (mean 65.3 [23.9] nmol/l; n=826). There was an inverse association between baseline 25(OH)D and incident type 2 diabetes in multivariable-adjusted analyses: HR (95% CI) 0.66 (0.45, 0.97), 0.53 (0.34, 0.82), 0.50 (0.32, 0.76), p trend <0.001, comparing consecutive increasing 25(OH)D quartiles with the lowest. In Ely, 37 incident type 2 diabetes cases were identified among 777 participants. In meta-analysis, the combined RR of type 2 diabetes comparing the highest with lowest quartile of 25(OH)D was 0.59 (0.52, 0.67), with little heterogeneity (I (2)‚ÄČ=2.7%, p=0.42) between the 11 studies included (3,612 cases and 55,713 non-cases).


These findings demonstrate an inverse association between circulating 25(OH)D and incident type 2 diabetes. However, causal inference should be addressed through adequately dosed randomised trials of vitamin D supplementation or genetic Mendelian randomisation experiments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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