Diabetes: Promising Link Between Low Vitamin D Levels and Painful Neuropathy

JUNE 07, 2015
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
Pain levels due to diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) may be altered depending on patients’ vitamin D levels, a British study. The findings will be presented in a poster session on June 8 at the American Diabetes Association 75th Scientific Sessions in Boston, MA.

Previous studies have touched upon the vitamin D and diabetic pain relationship, however, they did not include key factors such as daily activity and seasonal sun differences. In this research, the team explores the possibility of the relationship playing a role in pathogensis.

A total of 45 patients with type 2 diabetes were categorized based on their diagnose(s) including:
  • 17 with painful-DPN
  • 14 with painless-DPN
  • 14 with no DPN
  • 14 health controls

The participants’ vitamin D levels were recorded between May and September of a single year and assessments were conducted including clinical, neurophysiological, and lower limb skin intra-epidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD). The team adjusted levels to make comparable based on age and body mass index (BMI).

Overall, it was concluded that lower vitamin D levels correlated with higher painful neuropathy. On the other hand, the researchers noted that there was not a connection between vitamin D levels and IENFD.

“We have demonstrated a significant reduction of vitamin D levels, measured under careful conditions in subjects with painful-DPN,” the authors confirmed. “This suggests a possible role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of painful-DPN.”

The team advises that additional studies be conducted on the correlation between vitamin D and painful neuropathy.

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