close up photo of a pregnant belly
Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation could improve the health of women suffering from gestational diabetes - and benefit their babies too

Calcium/vitamin D combo improves gestational diabetes

26 June, 2014

Natural Health News — Simply supplementing with calcium and vitamin D couldhelp treat a tricky problem in pregnant women.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), which can occur in as many as 14% of all pregnancies, is characterized by carbohydrate intolerance and metabolic disorders.  It is more common in women who are overweight and can increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, pre-term delivery and delivery by caesarean section.

“We are aware of no study that has examined the effect of joint calcium-vitamin D supplementation on insulin function, lipid profiles, inflammatory factors and biomarkers of oxidative stress in GDM,” say the authors. “The current study was, therefore, done to investigate the effects of calcium plus vitamin D supplementation on metabolic status of pregnant women with GDM.”

This randomised placebo-controlled trial published in the journal  Diabetologia  researchers at the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, studied 56 women with GDM. The women were randomly assigned to receive a daily placebo or a daily calcium (1000mg). In addition those women receiving 50000 IU (international units) vitamin D3 tablets two times during the study (at the beginning of the study and on day 21). Those in the placebo group also received two placebos at these same time points. Fasting blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study and at 6 weeks.

Metabolic improvements

The supplemented group showed significant reductions in fasting plasma glucose, insulin, and LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity and increases in HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol, compared with those patients who took placebo.

The authors say: “Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation in GDM women had beneficial effects on metabolic profile”

This is important because elevated circulating levels of inflammatory markers and impaired insulin metabolism in GDM can predict the progression to type-2 diabetes  later in life and neonatal complications such as (babies large for gestational age, birth trauma, pre-eclampsia).

“In addition” the researchers note “increased inflammatory markers in GDM might predict the future development of both metabolic and cardiovascular disease.”