Vitamin D deficiency is recognised to have a worldwide presence. While vitamin D deficiency increases the risk to the skeletal system such as fractures and rickets, it is also connected with problems of the heart, hypertension and cancer. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency is related to the manifestation and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in people with diabetes.1
Chronic kidney disease among people with diabetes has been identified as a common problem, marked by reduced filtration in the kidneys and high levels of albumin in the urine and is called diabetic kidney disease.2
The impact of chronic kidney disease in people with diabetes
With a larger prevalence of CKD among people with diabetes, it has been seen that more and more patients are progressing towards end-stage kidney disease. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular complications and mortality. Although there are measures that help prevent diabetic kidney disease and slow its progression, such measures need to be accessible, safe, inexpensive and effective.2
The role of vitamin D and omega-3 in diabetes and chronic kidney disease
A study that aimed to test the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with kidney disease found that it reduced the excretion of albumin in urine (albuminuria). Following supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids over a period of 12 weeks, patients with albuminuria showed a decrease of 20% or more in their urine albumin. Moreover, there was a change in C‑reactive protein levels in blood at the end of the study.3
It has also been noticed that among patients with diabetic kidney disease, vitamin D supplementation can help improve albuminuria and can also improve the filtration rate of urine. However, there is not enough data to recommend regular intake of omega-3 and vitamin D for the prevention of diabetic kidney disease.2
Are vitamin D and omega-3 supplements useful in diabetic kidney disease
The importance of vitamin D and omega-3 in diabetic kidney disease has already been mentioned. The greatest advantage of vitamin D and omega-3 supplements is that they are safe and form a relatively inexpensive course of treatment. However, there is not enough evidence to say that these methods can help treat or prevent diabetic kidney disease. It can be said that both supplements have a good chance of improving survival rates and reducing cardiovascular complications among patients with CKD and diabetic kidney disease.2
While research continues to ascertain the potential of using vitamin D and omega-3 supplements to help prevent the development and progress of CKD among people with type 2 diabetes, we need to remember the role they play and ensure we find the means to give our body what it needs!
- Nakashima A, Yokoyama K, Yokoo T, Urashima M. Role of vitamin D in diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease. World J Diabetes. 2016 Mar 10;7(5):89-100. DOI: 10.4239/wjd.v7.i5.89.
- de Boer IH, Zelnick LR, Lin J, Schaumberg D, Wang L, Ruzinski J, et al. Vitamin D and omega-3 trial to prev\ent and treat diabetic kidney disease: rationale, design, and baseline characteristics. Contemp Clin Trials. 2018 Nov;74:11-17. DOI: 10.1016/j.cct.2018.09.014.
- U.S National Library of Medicine. Omega 3 fatty acids in patients with chronic renal disease [Internet]. [updated 2019 Sep 9; cited 2020 Jan 23]. Available from https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT03280615.