A new study from Australian researchers is reporting that low levels of vitamin D in the blood may be linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Researchers found that people with lower than average vitamin D levels had a 57 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to people with levels in the recommended range.
To investigate, researchers measured the vitamin D blood levels of 5,200 people without diabetes for five years. After 5 years, about 200 people developed diabetes.
The researchers found that twice as many people (6 in 100) with low blood levels of vitamin D later developed diabetes, compared to those with blood levels in the normal range (3 in 100).
When the researchers took into consideration risk factors for the disease such as age, waist circumference, and a family history of the disease, they found that the increased risk from low vitamin D levels translated to 57 percent, relative to those with higher levels of the vitamin.
Researchers say further studies are needed, both to directly test whether vitamin D supplements make a difference in diabetes risk, and if so, to determine the optimal circulating D levels to minimize that risk.
Studies show that a large percentage of Canadians are deficient in vitamin D, due in part to our long, dark winters. Currently, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends adults consider taking a vitamin D supplement to meet their recommended intake of 1000 international units (IU) per day.
The study was published in the journal Diabetes Care.
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