November 19, 2007 / 5:14 PM / 10 years ago

Vitamin D may curb type 2 diabetes risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - During a 17-year follow-up of roughly 4,000 men and women, researchers found that individuals with higher blood levels of vitamin D had a 40 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with lower levels of this vitamin.

“It has been suggested that vitamin D might be involved in processes leading to type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Paul Knekt from the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, told Reuters Health. “Human evidence from population studies is, however, missing.”

During follow-up, 187 people developed type 2 diabetes. After adjusting for age, sex, and month when blood samples were obtained, a statistically significant inverse association was observed between the blood vitamin D level and the development of type 2 diabetes.

People with the highest vitamin D levels had a 40 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes as those with the lowest vitamin D levels. Knekt and colleagues report in the journal Diabetes Care.

This association was attenuated somewhat after further adjustments were made for potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including body weight, physical activity level, and smoking.

“Vitamin D comes from the diet (mainly from fish), supplements and sun exposure,” Knekt noted. “Previous human studies have suggested that high intake of fish fat is related to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Our diabetes finding is thus in line with the suggestion of beneficial health effects of fish,” Knekt said.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, October 2007

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