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Benefits of Vitamin D and Calcium for Gestational Diabetes

Women with gestational diabetes experienced a number of benefits when taking supplemental calcium plus vitamin D…. 

Although not as common in the United States as elsewhere in the world, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) can increase the risk of having premature deliveries, preeclampsia, and many other unwanted misfortunes. Impaired insulin metabolism and elevated inflammatory markers can lead to progression of type 2 diabetes later on in life as well. A randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted to see what impact supplemental calcium plus vitamin D would have on patients at 24-28 weeks gestational period.

The study was conducted from September 2013-November 2013 with 56 pregnant women between the ages of 18-40 with GDM. Twenty eight women received the treatment group of 1000mg calcium carbonate and 50,000 units of vitamin D3, while the other twenty eight were assigned to placebo pills. The women who took the calcium supplement and vitamin D had a significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose compared to the placebo (−0.89±0.69 vs +0.26±0.92 mmol/L; P < .001). In addition, there was also a significant reduction in serum LDL (−0.23±0.79 vs +0.26±0.74 mmol/L; P = .02) and total cholesterol: HDL cholesterol ratio (−0.49±1.09 vs +0.18±0.37; P = .003) and a significant elevation in HDL cholesterol levels (+0.15±0.25 vs −0.02±0.24 mmol/L; P = .01) compared with women who took placebo.

Women who have GDM benefitted from taking supplemental calcium and vitamin D. Some benefits include reduced fasting plasma glucose, reduced serum insulin levels, reduced serum LDL levels, and increased HDL levels. These supplements are important to the patient’s metabolic profile because it has potentials to avoid long-term maternal and perinatal complications.

Practice Pearls:
  • Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) can increase the risk of having premature deliveries, preeclampsia, and many other unwanted misfortunes.
  • Women with GDM who took calcium and vitamin D supplements at 24-28 weeks’ gestation experience many benefits including reduced fasting plasma glucose, reduced serum insulin levels, reduced serum LDL levels, and increased HDL levels.
  • Calcium and vitamin D can be important to the patient’s metabolic profile because of potentials to avoid long-term maternal and perinatal complications.

Asemi Z, Karamal M, Esmaillzadeh A. Effects of calcium–vitamin D co-supplementation on glycemic control, inflammation and oxidative stress in gestational diabetes: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Diabetologia. 2014 June 27.