Vitamin D reduces diabetes risk
The oft taken for granted sunlight may help in warding off more than just cold and rickets. Sunlight converts the non-usable form of Vitamin D to its active form (cholecalciferol), which is then utilised by the body. According to new research, Vitamin D helps in reducing the risk of diabetes.
Researchers studied more than 12,000 children who were born in 1966 in Finland, which has the largest incidence of diabetes type 1 (IDDM) in the world. The health of these children was followed till 1997. The researchers noted the intake of Vitamin D through diet as per the data provided by the mothers. 9124 children were given Vitamin D supplements regularly, 1210 irregularly and 32 children were not given any dietary supplements for Vitamin D. Vitamin D rich foods include fortified milk and dairy products, cod liver oil, fish etc.
The results indicated that children who were given vitamin D supplements regularly were 80% less likely to suffer from diabetes at 14 years of age than those who were not. 87 children who were not given any Vitamin D supplements were diagnosed with diabetes as compared to 2 who were given supplements regularly. 400 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D per day is the recommended amount in children. This varies for different populations depending on the amount of sunlight an area receives and the dietary habits of the community. In the Finnish children studied, the recommended amount was taken as 2000 IU because of the lack of sunlight available to the area in winters.
Though Vitamin D is an essential requirement for preventing diseases like rickets in children, excessive intake of the vitamin may also be harmful. Some of the symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity are nausea, vomiting, weight loss, constipation etc. Though India has less to worry in this regard due to its naturally abundant sunshine supply, it is better to include the recommended amount in the childs diet for a possible healthy future.
The Lancet, Volume 358, Number 9292
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