Deficiency of vitamin D in the blood can increase your risk of developing diabetes, a new study has claimed.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine 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 preventive role for vitamin D3 in this disease.
"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," said Cedric Garland, professor in UCSD's Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.
The researchers thawed and analysed 1000 samples of serum from healthy people who later developed type 1 diabetes and 1000 healthy controls whose blood was drawn on or near the same date but who did not develop type 1 diabetes.
By comparing the serum concentrations of the predominant circulating form of vitamin D – 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) – investigators were able to determine the optimal serum level needed to lower an individual's risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Based mainly on results of this study, Garland estimates that the level of 25(OH)D 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, 4000 IU per day of vitamin D3 will be needed to achieve the effective levels," Garland suggested.
He urges interested patients to ask their health care provider to measure their serum 25(OH)D before increasing vitamin D3 intake.
"This beneficial effect is present at these intakes only for vitamin D3.
"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," Garland said in a statement.