The effects of short-term vitamin D supplementation on glucose metabolism in dialysis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Harini Sarathy, Vedatrayee Pramanik, Jared Kahn, Matthew K. Abramowitz, Kristen Meier, Preeti Kishore, Michal L. Melamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: We tested whether short-term vitamin D supplementation improves insulin resistance in patients with kidney disease, a condition with little intrinsic vitamin D activity.

Methods: PubMed, EMBASE and CENTRAL were searched for relevant observational studies and randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Random-effects models were employed for meta-analysis, and effect sizes were summarized as standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95 % confidence intervals. Separate analyses were done for RCTs and non-randomized intervention studies (NRIS).

Results: Seventeen studies (5 RCTs and 12 NRIS) were included. The meta-analysis population (n = 131) was mostly middle aged (40–50 years), male and non-diabetic, and on hemodialysis. The duration (4–12 weeks) and type of supplementation varied between studies. Among RCTs, compared to placebo, vitamin D supplementation was associated with significant decrease in fasting glucose [SMD −1.13, (−2.11 to −0.11)] and PTH levels [SMD −1.50, (−2.95 to −0.04)] but no difference in fasting insulin levels [SMD 1.32, (−0.15 to 2.79)]. Among NRIS, there was only a significant decrease in PTH levels [SMD −1.68, (−2.55 to −0.82)] between pre- and post-vitamin D treatment levels.

Conclusions: Short-term (4–12 weeks) supplementation with vitamin D is associated with lower fasting glucose levels in ESRD with no change in fasting insulin levels. However, the findings from this study are limited by the studies that were used in the meta-analysis, which were mostly small, used multiple different vitamin D compounds and dosing regimens, and had large heterogeneity, and funnel plots showed that there was a dearth of studies with null or negative finding. Therefore, larger RCTs need to be performed to answer this important clinical question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-549
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Urology and Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 26 2015


  • Dialysis
  • Insulin resistance
  • Intervention studies
  • Meta-analysis
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Urology


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