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Diabetes risk lowered with vit D

13th March 2008

New research has suggested that giving young children vitamin D supplements may reduce their risk of developing type 1 diabetes later in life.

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The study was carried out by St Mary’s Hospital for Women and Children in Manchester and revealed that children who took supplements were around 30% less likely to develop the condition than those who did not.

The Manchester study, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, looked at five studies that had focussed on the effect of vitamin D supplementation.

As well as supplements appearing to reduce the risk, it also appeared that the higher and more regular the dose, the lower the likelihood was of the disease occurring.

Sunlight, which helps the body make vitamin D, has also been found to be a factor with the likelihood of a child developing diabetes being lower in sunnier countries. Other research has linked low levels of vitamin D and sunlight to other autoimmune disorders.

About two million Europeans and North Americans are affected by type 1 diabetes but estimates suggest new cases will have risen by 40% between 2000 and 2010.

However, Dr Victoria King from 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.?

The government recommends vitamin D supplementation for at least the first two years of a child’s life in the UK.

 

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