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Calcium Concentration Tied to Diabetes

According to an Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS), high calcium serum concentrations are associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes…. 

Several studies have associated calcium supplement intake with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), so Lorenzo et al. chose to study the relationship between serum calcium concentration and the development of diabetes, a chronic condition, which shares similar risk factors to CVD.

A total of 863 individuals between the ages 40-69 were included in the study, and none of them had diabetes at the start of the study. Aside from their serum calcium concentrations, participants had their insulin sensitivity and acute insulin response measured at baseline and then every few months. To determine if a patient developed diabetes or an impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), researchers looked at their most recent fasting and 2-hr post-prandial glucose levels and/or whether the patient started using anti-diabetic medications.

Results of the study indicated that there was a relationship between serum calcium concentration and the development of diabetes or IGT, but this relationship was not linear. This is because increased risk for diabetes was most seen when patients had the highest levels of serum calcium (>2.5 mmol/L). Furthermore, researchers found a patient’s calcium concentration to be unrelated to glucose and insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.

In conclusion, Lorenzo et al’s study does not provide the evidence to suggest that a high calcium concentration causes type 2 diabetes; however, it can be classified as a risk factor.

Presented at EASD Barcelona, September 2013. Lorenzo V, et al. Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS)