April 26, 2018

Vitamin D Deficiency May Lead to Higher Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

A new study published in Diabetologia has found that there is a correlation between low serum levels of vitamin D3 and development of Type 1 diabetes. A six year analysis of 2000 military service members from 2002 to 2008 found that higher levels of D3 are associated with a lower incidence of that disease. One thousand samples from healthy people who later developed the disease, and 1000 samples from healthy people who did not develop it were analyzed.

Since there are about 40,000 new cases of type 1 diabetes diagnosed in the US every year, searches for a cause are ongoing. A EURO-DIAB case control study found that children who did not receive a vitamin D supplement while they were infants had 1.5 times the risk of type 1 diabetes disease development.

The scientists found that “the risk of insulin-requiring diabetes was 3.5 times higher in individuals with the lowest vitamin D concentration compared with those with the highest. Individuals in this study who had serum levels of 25 (OH)D [serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D] greater than 100 nmol/l had a 70% lower risk of developing insulin dependent diabetes than those with levels below 43 nmol/l.” These results are consistent with two previous case-control studies of serum 25(OH)D.

Researchers estimate that the level of serum vitamin D3 needed to prevent 50% of the cases of type 1 diabetes is 50 ng/ml. Mega doses are not helpful and caution should be exercised with large supplement doses, since benefits occur at doses less than 10,000 IU/day, the researchers said.

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