Vitamin D may lower risk of developing diabetes [from Life Extension Foundation]

A review published online on March 13, 2008 in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood concluded that vitamin D supplementation in infancy may be protective against the development of type 1 diabetes.

For the current review, C. S. Zipitis, of the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust in Stockport, and A. K. Akobeng, of Booth Hall Children’s Hospital in Manchester, England selected four case-control studies and one cohort study, involving a total of 6,455 children. Of these children, 1,429 developed type 1 diabetes. Analysis of the case-control studies determined that infants who were supplemented with vitamin D had a 29 percent lower risk of developing diabetes than those who were not. Data from the cohort study supported this conclusion. Increased dosages of the vitamin were associated with a greater reduction in diabetes risk than lower doses.

In one study included in the review, those who received vitamin D from cod liver oil between the ages of 7 and 12 months experienced a lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes than infants supplemented between 0 and 6 months. Other forms of the vitamin were associated with similar results

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Baby

Since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin are destroyed, a protective effect of vitamin D on the immune system as well as on pancreatic beta cells may be mechanisms by which vitamin D helps prevent the disease. Both types of cells have receptors for the active forms of the vitamin.

“Vitamin D supplementation in early childhood may offer protection against the development of type 1 diabetes,” the authors conclude. “Adequately powered, randomised controlled trials with long periods of follow-up are needed to establish causality and the best formulation, dose, duration and period of supplementation.”

For more info, visit the Life Extension Foundation website.

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