New research has found that vitamin D may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. According to researchers from Helsinki, people with higher blood levels of "the sunshine vitamin" have a 40 percent lower risk of developing the disease.
In this study, blood levels of vitamin D were obtained from about 4,000 men and women during a 17-year follow-up looking at diabetes risk. During the follow-up, 187 people developed type 2 diabetes.
People with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had a significantly lower risk of developing diabetes as compared to those with the lowest levels of vitamin D. This association remained true after adjusting for body weight, physical activity, smoking and other diabetes risk factors.
Vitamin D has been linked to lowered risk of developing type I diabetes, an auto-immune disease in which the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
The Canadian Cancer Society recommends 1,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day during the fall and winter months while Health Canada recommends 200-600 IU of vitamin D per day based on age, race and exposure to sunlight.
Dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish - sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel, cod and herring - fortified milk and milk beverages, eggs, butter and margarine. The researchers believe that the heart health benefits of high fatty fish intake may be related to the reduction in diabetes risk seen in this study.
In Canada, over two million people are affected by type 2 diabetes. For more information on diabetes prevention check out Leslie Beck's Foods that Fight Disease.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.