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Tuesday 25th October 2016

'Vitamin link' to diabetes problems

8th August 2007

Researchers have suggested that a lack of vitamin B1 might contribute to many side effects caused by diabetes.

diabetes1A team from Warwick University discovered that diabetic people lost the vitamin, also known as thiamine, 15 times as quickly as people without the condition. They saw that levels of the vitamin were 76% less in people who had type 1 diabetes and 75% less in people who had type 2.

The results of the study of 94 people were published in the Diabetologia journal. The team stated that the vitamin could stave off problems such as heart disease and vision disorders.

Lead researcher Professor Paul Thornalley said: "It could have a huge difference. Supplementing diets could be an effective way of minimising the risk of these complications."

The study's findings are the first to show that a lack of thiamine was present in diabetic subjects. Previous studies had not identified the low levels of the vitamin because of how it was measured.

"Enzyme activity" had usually been measured in order to determine the presence of the vitamin. The team discovered that an increase in activity could also be linked to the way the body responded to a lack of thiamine.

Matt Hunt, of Diabetes UK, said that further research should be carried out. He stated: "Around 80% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the UK's working age population."

"The study could potentially have very exciting outcomes."

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