Vitamin D Reduces Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

It is not known why some people get type 1 diabetes (diabetes that starts early in life), but there has been a suggestion that if children have a diet lacking in Vitamin D, they may go on to develop diabetes.

In a recent issue of The Lancet, Dr Elina Hyppnen and colleagues report a study of 12,055 women who were expected to give birth in 1966, in the north of Finland. A record was kept of vitamin D supplements and the researchers followed the children until 1997 to see how many had developed diabetes.

Children who had recommended supplements of vitamin D (usually in the form of cod-liver oil) had a reduced risk of developing diabetes of 80%. The researchers conclude, We suggest thathealth workers ensure that all infants are receiving at least the amount of vitamin D indicated in the current recommendations.

In an accompanying Commentary (page 1476), Dr Jill M Norris from the University of Colorado Health Sciences, adds The potential role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes is intriguing and deserves follow-up. Prospective studies in which biomarkers of vitamin D are measured at various times before the diagnosis of diabetes are necessary to resolve issues about timing and dose -- such information would be important in the design of intervention trials.

Source: Lancet