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Children who take vitamin D supplements are less likely to develop diabetes later in life, a study has shown.
The British study, which appears in Archives of Disease in Childhood , suggests that children who receive vitamin D supplements were around 30 per cent less likely to develop type 1 diabetes later than those who did not take such supplements, the BBC reported.
Type 1 diabetes is usually due to autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic beta cells. Type 1 diabetes, in which insulin is not secreted by the pancreas, is directly treatable only with injected insulin, although dietary and other lifestyle adjustments are part of management.
Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease (doubled risk), chronic renal failure, retinal damage (which can lead to blindness), nerve damage (of several kinds), and microvascular damage, which may cause impotence and poor healing.
The study, by St Mary’s Hospital for Women and Children, Manchester in the UK, brought together data from five studies examining the effect of vitamin D supplementation.
According to the research, vitamin D facilitates in keeping the immune system healthy. Previous research has also found that type 1 diabetes is more common in places where exposure to sunlight is lower.
However, many experts feel that further studies need to be undertaken before concrete link between vitamin D and type 1 diabetes can be established beyond doubt.
“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,” Dr Victoria King of the charity Diabetes UK was quoted as saying in the report.
Sources: The Times Of India