Extra vitamin D in early childhood cuts adult diabetes risk

Mar 13, 2008

Vitamin D supplements in early childhood may ward off the development of type 1 diabetes in later life, reveals a research review published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, in which insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s own immune system, starting in early infancy. The disease is most common among people of European descent, with around 2 million Europeans and North Americans affected.

Its incidence is rising at roughly 3% a year, and it is estimated that new cases will have risen 40% between 2000 and 2010.

A trawl of published evidence on vitamin D supplementation in children produced five suitable studies, the pooled data from which were re-analysed.

The results showed that children given additional vitamin D were around 30% less likely to develop type 1 diabetes compared with those not given the supplement.

And the higher and the more regular the dose, the lower was the likelihood of developing the disease, the evidence suggested.

Levels of vitamin D, and sunlight, from which the body manufactures the vitamin, have been implicated in the risks of developing various autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

And there is a striking difference in the incidence of type 1 diabetes according to latitude and levels of sunlight exposure, with a child in Finland 400 times more likely to develop the disease than a child in Venezuela, say the authors.

Further evidence of vitamin D’s role comes from the fact that pancreatic beta cells and immune cells carry receptors or docking bays for the active forms of the vitamin.

Source: British Medical Journal

Explore further: Detecting concussion-related brain disease in its earliest stages

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tropical Storm Wali no more, but remnants soaked Hawaii

52 minutes ago

On July 19, NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center noted that Wali didn't even make it to the Big Island, but moisture associated with the storm did. NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of the remnant ...

NASA image: Fires in Indonesia, July 2014

53 minutes ago

Terra and Aqua satellites detected 154 hotspots in areas across Riau province on Sunday, July 20, indicating forest and land fires had increased again following a decline in rainfall. The number of detected ...

Climate: Meat turns up the heat

54 minutes ago

Eating meat contributes to climate change, due to greenhouse gasses emitted by livestock. New research finds that livestock emissions are on the rise and that beef cattle are responsible for far more greenhouse gas emissions ...

A molecule's transformation filmed at high resolution

55 minutes ago

François Légaré's team at the INRS Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre successfully imaged a chemical reaction with a spatial and temporal resolution greatly exceeding that obtained to date using microscopes. ...

Recommended for you

Warning: Birthdays can be bad for your health

35 minutes ago

New research has found that birthday-related drinking is associated with upsurges in hospital admissions among young people. This study of drinking behaviour in Ontario, Canada is published online today in the scientific ...

Australia's ageing population poses budget risks

1 hour ago

Australia's public and private economy-wide deficit could blow out to more than $400 billion by 2050 due to the nation's ageing population, a new Australian National University report has found.

User comments : 0