Vitamin D may help diabetics

Fri, 20 Aug 2010
A new study is examining the role of vitamin D, often called the 'sunshine vitamin', in lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Two factors are already known: levels of vitamin D increase when the skin is exposed to sunlight, and higher vitamin D levels are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. However, there is as yet no evidence that explains the direct causal link between the two.

To further our understanding of this relationship, researchers from the University of Glasgow, University of Bristol, University College London and St George's, University of London hope to determine whether individuals genetically disposed to higher vitamin D levels also have a reduced risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said "Currently we know that, while some of the risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes are out of someone's control, other risk factors, such as being overweight, can be acted on to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The results of research into vitamin D, if shown to be effective in reducing Type 2 diabetes risk, will add to an armoury of existing preventative measures such as weight-loss, keeping active and eating a healthy balanced diet ."

Diabetes UK also hope that the study will establish if further research is needed to test whether vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in conjunction with exercise and diet . However, it is recommended that people shouldn't increase their exposure to sunlight, as this can be harmful, or increase their intake of vitamin D supplements until the research is verified.
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