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      Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels in Type 2 Diabetes Patients in North China: Seasonality and the Association between Vitamin D Status and Glycosylated Hemoglobin Levels


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          Background and Aims

          Previous studies have reported a correlation between vitamin D levels and seasonality in healthy populations. However, there are few studies on the seasonal variation in vitamin D levels and its relationship with glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The objective of this study was to investigate seasonal changes in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and the associations between these vitamin D concentrations and HbA1c levels in T2DM patients in Hebei, China.


          A cross-sectional study of 1,074 individuals with T2DM was conducted from May 2018 to September 2021. Levels of 25(OH)D in these patients were assessed based on both sex and season, and relevant clinical or laboratory variables that could impact vitamin D status were also considered.


          In the T2DM patient cohort, the mean blood 25(OH)D levels were 17.05 ng/mL. A total of 698 patients (65.0%) had insufficient serum 25(OH)D levels. The vitamin D deficiency rates were significantly higher in the winter and spring compared to the autumn ( P < 0.05), indicating that seasonal fluctuations can have a significant impact on 25(OH)D levels. The levels of vitamin D inadequacy were highest in the winter (74%), and females were more likely than males to be deficient (73.4% vs. 59.5%, P < 0.001). In comparison to the winter and spring, both males and females showed higher 25(OH)D levels in the summer ( P < 0.001). HbA1c levels were 8.9% higher in those with vitamin D deficiencies than in nondeficient patients ( P < 0.001). HbA1c and vitamin D levels were negatively correlated ( r = −0.119, P < 0.001).


          Vitamin D deficiencies are particularly prevalent among T2DM patients in Hebei, China, with exceptionally high rates in the winter and spring. Female T2DM patients were at an elevated risk of vitamin D deficiency, and vitamin D levels were negatively correlated with HbA1c.

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          Most cited references54

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          Role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

          Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to alter insulin synthesis and secretion in both humans and animal models. It has been reported that vitamin D deficiency may predispose to glucose intolerance, altered insulin secretion and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Vitamin D replenishment improves glycaemia and insulin secretion in patients with type 2 diabetes with established hypovitaminosis D, thereby suggesting a role for vitamin D in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The presence of vitamin D receptors (VDR) and vitamin D-binding proteins (DBP) in pancreatic tissue and the relationship between certain allelic variations in the VDR and DBP genes with glucose tolerance and insulin secretion have further supported this hypothesis. The mechanism of action of vitamin D in type 2 diabetes is thought to be mediated not only through regulation of plasma calcium levels, which regulate insulin synthesis and secretion, but also through a direct action on pancreatic beta-cell function. Therefore, owing to its increasing relevance, this review focuses on the role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
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            Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in human skin.

            Sunlight has long been recognized as a major provider of vitamin D for humans; radiation in the UVB (290-315 nm) portion of the solar spectrum photolyzes 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin to previtamin D3, which, in turn, is converted by a thermal process to vitamin D3. Latitude and season affect both the quantity and quality of solar radiation reaching the earth's surface, especially in the UVB region of the spectrum, but little is known about how these influence the ability of sunlight to synthesize vitamin D3 in skin. A model has been developed to evaluate the effect of seasonal and latitudinal changes on the potential of sunlight to initiate cutaneous production of vitamin D3. Human skin or [3 alpha-3H]7-dehydrocholesterol exposed to sunlight on cloudless days in Boston (42.2 degrees N) from November through February produced no previtamin D3. In Edmonton (52 degrees N) this ineffective winter period extended from October through March. Further south (34 degrees N and 18 degrees N), sunlight effectively photoconverted 7-dehydrocholesterol to previtamin D3 in the middle of winter. These results quantify the dramatic influence of changes in solar UVB radiation on cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis and indicate the latitudinal increase in the length of the "vitamin D winter" during which dietary supplementation of the vitamin may be advisable.
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              Vitamin D status and its adequacy in healthy Danish perimenopausal women: relationships to dietary intake, sun exposure and serum parathyroid hormone.

              We conducted this study to assess the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in a population of normal perimenopausal women, to examine the influence of sun exposure and vitamin D intake on the concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) and to examine the association between parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 25OHD. A total of 2016 healthy women aged 45-58, who had recently undergone a natural menopause, were enrolled over a 2.5-year period in the Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study. A marked seasonal fluctuation of 25OHD was seen, with an abrupt rise in June and high values until October. The fluctuation could be related to number of hours of sunshine per month with a two months time lag. Dietary vitamin D intake, vitamin supplementation, sunlight exposure, and use of sun-bed were all significantly related to 25OHD concentrations. Sun exposure seemed to contribute the most. The overall prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (defined as serum ) was 7 %. However, in the subgroup avoiding direct sunshine and abstaining from vitamin D supplementation 32.8 % were vitamin D deficient in the winter-spring period. Although mean PTH was increased in the group with low serum 25OHD, PTH was not a sensitive marker of hypovitaminosis D in the individual, as only 16 % of those with vitamin D deficiency had PTH levels above normal range. Thus, we have shown, that healthy middle-aged Danish women are prone to vitamin D insufficiency in the winter-spring period, if they avoid sun exposure in the summer period and abstain from vitamin D supplementation.

                Author and article information

                Int J Clin Pract
                Int J Clin Pract
                International Journal of Clinical Practice
                5 May 2023
                : 2023
                : 4151224
                1Department of Endocrinology, Hebei General Hospital, Shijiazhuang 050051, China
                2Graduate School of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang 050017, China
                3Department of Clinical Laboratory, Hebei General Hospital, Shijiazhuang 050051, China
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Pier P. Sainaghi

                Author information
                Copyright © 2023 Chang Wang et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 9 January 2023
                : 17 March 2023
                : 17 April 2023
                Research Article



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