Vitamin D May Cut Diabetes Risk

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Mar 14 2008 - 12:48pm

Vitamin D supplements

Children taking vitamin D supplements are 29% less likely to develop type 1 diabetes later in life.

A team of scientists from St Mary's Hospital for Women and Children, Manchester examined data of 5 studies to clarify the link between vitamin D intake and type 1 diabetes. The study showed reduced rates of diabetes among those taking regular and high doses of vitamin D in childhood.

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Type 1 diabetes occurs because of pancreatic beta cell damage. These cells are responsible for insulin hormone production. The disease is becoming more common and it is expected to increase by 40% in 2010, compared to 2000.

The study showed that those suffering from type 1 diabetes have lower levels of vitamin D and are common in countries with less sunlight. It is well known that sunlight exposure stimulates vitamin D production and that supplement intake without sunlight exposure doesn't mean anything.

Lack of vitamin D is previously linked to autoimmune disorders, and this new study shows another key role of vitamins in health.

Dr Victoria King, of the charity Diabetes UK, said: "Much more research, in particular controlled trials which compares the results when one group of people are given vitamin D supplements and one group is not, are needed before we can confirm a concrete association between vitamin D and type 1 diabetes."

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