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Jun 25, 2014 03:05 AM EDT

Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements Boost Metabolism in Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes, Study

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Women diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) can increase their metabolism through calcium and vitamin D supplements, according to a new study by Iran's Isfahan University.

Researchers said that this is the first study to have examined a link between calcium-vitamin D supplementation on insulin function, lipid profiles, inflammatory factors and biomarkers of oxidative stress in GDM patients. The current study focuses on the beneficial effects of the supplementation on metabolic profiles of pregnant women with GDM.

For the study, researchers gave either calcium plus vitamin D supplements or a placebo to 56 women with GDM. Participants in the calcium-vitamin group were administered 1000 mg calcium and 50000 IU vitamin D3 tablets every day during the study. On the other hand, those in the placebo group were given two tablets.

The researchers also collected fasting samples at the start of the study and at the end of six weeks. The researchers found that participants, who took calcium-vitamin D supplements, had significant reductions in fasting plasma glucose, insulin, and LDL or bad cholesterol. Plus, this group displayed superior insulin sensitivity and showed heightened levels of good cholesterol called HDL.

"This is important because elevated circulating levels of inflammatory markers and impaired insulin metabolism in GDM can predict the progression to type 2 diabetes (T2D) later in life and neonatal complications too," the researchers said.

 Impaired insulin metabolism in women with GDM can result in adverse long-term maternal outcomes and increased perinatal morbidity (babies large for gestational age, birth trauma, pre-eclampsia) as well as long-term consequences in the offspring. In addition, increased inflammatory markers in GDM might predict the future development of both metabolic and cardiovascular disease," the researchers said in a press release.

The finding is published in Diabetologia.

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