Study: Vitamin D3 could help prevent Type 1 diabetes

SAN DIEGO — A study published last week by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has found a correlation between vitamin D3 serum levels and subsequent incidence of Type 1 diabetes. The six-year study of blood levels of nearly 2,000 individuals suggests a preventative role for vitamin D3 in this disease. The research appears the December issue of Diabetologia, a publication of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

“Previous studies proposed the existence of an association between vitamin D deficiency and risk of and Type 1 diabetes, but this is the first time that the theory has been tested in a way that provides the dose-response relationship,” stated Cedric Garland, professor in UCSD’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Based mainly on results of this study, Garland estimated that the level of calcidiol (the form of vitamin D that is measured in order to assess vitamin D deficiency) needed to prevent half the cases of type 1 diabetes is 50 ng/mL. A consensus of all available data indicates no known risk associated with this dosage.

“While there are a few conditions that influence vitamin D metabolism, for most people, 4,000 IU per day of vitamin D3 will be needed to achieve the effective levels,” Garland suggested. He advised interested patients to ask their healthcare provider to measure their serum calcidiol before increasing vitamin D3 intake.

“This beneficial effect is present at these intakes only for vitamin D3,” Garland said. “Reliance should not be placed on different forms of vitamin D and mega doses should be avoided, as most of the benefits for prevention of disease are for doses less than 10,000 IU/day.”

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