Vitamin D May Cut Type 1 Diabetes Risk
Past studies have suggested that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk for type 1 diabetes. Now, new research published in Diabetes suggests that children who are vitamin-D deficient have a higher risk for developing a condition called islet immunity in which the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, causing type 1 diabetes. The researchers speculate that adequate levels of vitamin D may help reduce this risk.
Earlier research to determine if higher levels of vitamin D could protect against type 1 diabetes produced conflicting results. This latest study was conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Colorado. It involved 8,676 children with a genetic risk for type 1 diabetes. For the study, researchers took blood samples from each child every three to six months from infancy up to four years to identify vitamin D levels and islet autoimmunity.
According to the researchers, 376 children in the study developed islet autoimmunity. When vitamin D levels in these children were compared with levels in the 1,041 children who did not develop the condition, the researchers discovered that higher vitamin D levels are associated with a lower risk of islet autoimmunity.