The number of people with diabetes is high and is rising in every country, with the numbers expected to rise from an estimated 425 million in 2017 to 629 million with diabetes by 2045 according to the International Diabetes Federation. It is therefore an urgent public health priority to find effective strategies to reduce the burden of diabetes.
The vitamin D trial aimed to examine the effects of vitamin D in preventing or delaying the development of type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D is a natural substance produced in our skin when it is exposed to sunlight. It is also present in some foods. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. However recent research shows it may also have other benefits including preventing diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and infections, but this is not yet proven and needs further research. Many adults (especially from ethnic minority groups) do not have enough body vitamin D, and this may affect their health.
Vitamin D comes in two forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). This study was set up to investigate the effects of each of these two forms of vitamin D compared with a placebo (that is, when no vitamin D was given).
This trial was a joint collaborative project between researchers at Queen Mary University of London and the MRC Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge. Across the London and Cambridge sites this trial recruited 340 people over 2010 to 2013.