A study published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes holds new insight into improving signs of gestational diabetes through the supplementation of calcium and vitamin D. Some women will develop gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) when pregnant. This complication results in carbohydrate intolerance and other metabolic disorders. Some of the risks that are increased with GDM are pre-eclampsia, pre-term delivery, and caesarean section delivery. In fact, around 7% of United States pregnancies are affected by GDM. Depending on population studies and the diagnostic criteria used, the prevalence of GDM of all pregnancies in the world ranges from 1 to 14%.
56 women with GDM were included in this randomized placebo-controlled trial. Subjects were randomly given 1000 mg calcium per day plus 50,000 IU vitamin D3 tablets twice during the study or two placebos at the same time points as the previous group. After collecting fasting blood samples at the baseline as well as 6 weeks post intervention, researchers found improvements in the supplement group and not in the placebo group. Those who were administered calcium and vitamin D observed significant reductions in insulin, fasting plasma glucose, and LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Also, their insulin sensitivity was improved and their HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol increased.
The authors of the study conclude that calcium plus vitamin D supplements in women with GDM had benefits on their metabolic profile. The reason why this is important is because elevated circulating inflammatory marker levels with impaired insulin metabolism such as that in GDM are predictors of the progression to type 2 diabetes in the future as well as neonatal complications. Pregnant GDB women with impaired insulin metabolism can progress to long term adverse maternal outcomes, perinatal morbidity, and long-term consequences in the baby. The researchers further state that the increased inflammatory markers seen in GDM might be able to predict the future development of metabolic and cardiovascular disease as well.
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