In women who have type 2 diabetes and show signs of depression, vitamin D supplements significantly lowered blood pressure and improved their moods, according to a pilot study at Loyola University Chicago Niehoff School of Nursing. Vitamin D even helped the women lose a few pounds. The study was presented at the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions in Chicago. "Vitamin D supplementation potentially is an easy and cost-effective therapy, with minimal side effects," said Sue M. Penckofer, Ph.D., R.N., lead author of the study and a professor in the Niehoff School of Nursing. "Larger, randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the impact of vitamin D supplementation on depression and major cardiovascular risk factors among women with Type 2 diabetes." Dr. Penckofer recently received a four-year, $1.49 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health to do such a study. Dr. Penckofer and her Loyola co-investigators plan to enroll 180 women who have type 2 diabetes, symptoms of depression, and insufficient levels of vitamin D. Women will be randomly assigned to receive either a weekly vitamin D supplementation (50,000 International Units) or a matching weekly placebo for six months. The study is titled "Can the Sunshine Vitamin Improve Mood and Self Management in Women with Diabetes?” About 1 in 10 people in the United States has diabetes, and the incidence is projected to increase to 1 in 4 persons by 2050. Women with type 2 diabetes have worse outcomes than men. The reason may be due to depression, which affects more than 25 percent of women with diabetes. Depression impairs a patient's ability to manage her disease by eating appropriately, exercising, taking medications, etc.
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