The burning sensation and severe pain, which diabetic patients usually suffer from, can be relieved to some extent by taking vitamin D, according to a study presented during a national conference of endocrinologists at PGI last week.
With time, diabetic patients develop nerve damage throughout the body, which causes pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands, arms, feet and legs, and can also affect organs like the digestive tract and the heart. These disorders are called diabetic peripheral neuropathies.
The study, conducted by endocrinologists from Chennai-based Sri Ramachandra University, found that vitamin D supplementation decreases the severity of symptoms in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Conducted by Bubblu Tamilselvan, Nagendra Kumar, Krishna Seshadri, Manu Kurian and Lakshmi G, the 24-week-long study covered 45 patients with type 2 diabetes who suffered from typical motor and sensory neuropathy symptoms and had low vitamin D levels.
Patients with vitamin D levels less than 30ng/ml (nanogram per millilitre) were supplemented with 60,000IU (international units) of vitamin D per week for a period of six weeks, followed by 2,000IU vitamin D per day for 18 weeks. Patients with vitamin D levels within the range of 30 to 50ng/ml were supplemented with 2,000IU vitamin D per day for 24 weeks.
The patients showed a decrease in the severity of neuropathy symptoms. With changes in vitamin D level in their blood, their diabetic neuropathy score, and the neuropathy disability score improved, the study noted.
In diabetic neuropathy score, the symptoms of the patients are graded from 1 to 4. Neuropathy disability score is decided after examining the patient on the basis of DNS and varies from 1 to 10. The higher the score, the more severe the problem.