A new study reports that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Saudi adults with diabetes mellitus type 1 is very high.
The observational study measured blood vitamin D concentrations of 60 patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and compared them with the levels of 60 healthy participants (1). The study results showed that
the mean vitamin D levels were significantly lower in the diabetic patients than in the healthy participants
(28.1 nmol/L versus 33.4 nmol/L). Among the diabetics, 66.7% were mildly, 31.7% moderately, and
3.3% severely vitamin D deficient as compared with 41.7% (mildly), 31.7% (moderately), and 5% (seve- rely) in the control group. Overall, 100% of the diabetic adults and 78% of the healthy children were vi- tamin D deficient.
The researchers commented that screening for vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D supplementation should be warranted for type 1 diabetics. While several reports showed a higher incidence of vitamin D deficiency in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, studies examining vitamin D deficiency in adult patients from the Middle East are limited (2-4). Saudi nationals, particularly women, are not exposed to the sunlight long enough to synthesize vitamin D due to the culture requiring clothing to cover most of the body. Furthermore, many young people are not consuming sufficient fresh milk or dairy products fortified with vitamin D. Diabe- tes mellitus type 1 is the most common life-threatening endocrine disorder in children and young adults worldwide and its incidence appears to be increasing.