Dr. Carlos Lorenzo, MD of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, led a 5-year Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study, and found that high calcium levels in serum could lead to increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes. The study also demonstrated that high serum calcium levels do not depend on a large intake of calcium. Dr. Lorenzo presented the results of the study at the 2013 meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona, Spain.
863 individuals without diabetes between the ages of 40 and 69 participated in the study, and researchers measured their insulin sensitivity and insulin response.
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Lorenzo’s team found that the biomarkers, which indicate a high risk of diabetes, were detected in patients with high concentration of calcium in serum. The high levels of serum calcium were not likely to be co-relative to blood glucose levels, insulin secretion, and insulin resistance. In addition, intensified calcium intake did not make a difference in the results.
A previous study showing a relationship between increased calcium supplement intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease inspired Lorenzo to undertake this new study, since there are many shared risk factors between heart disease and diabetes.
“Our hypothesis was that serum calcium may also play some role in the development of diabetes,” said Lorenzo. In the study, he showed evidence for his hypothesis of the association between serum calcium levels and diabetes, and also suggested that elevated diabetes risk factors are not caused by increased calcium intake, but by a deficient ability to regulate serum calcium levels.