Vitamin D Reduces the Risk for Type 1 Diabetes

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Type 1 diabetes occurs when insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas are damaged by some type of inflammatory process, oftentimes an autoimmune attack on the pancreas. Vitamin D3 enables your body to tolerate inflammation more efficiently, including reducing risk for autoimmune problems. A new study shows that vitamin D3 status is associated with the risk for developing type 1 diabetes.

The researchers used blood samples from healthy people, 1,000 who developed type 1 diabetes, and 1,000 who did not. Those with low vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop type 1 diabetes. The researchers determined that vitamin D blood level of 50 ng/ml would prevent half the cases of type 1 diabetes.

The current lab reference range for normal vitamin D is 30-100 ng/ml. Many in the alternative field of medicine consider that an optimal range of vitamin D is 50-80 ng/ml, specifically for the prevention of many health problems. This new study confirms that an optimal vitamin D score is crucial to good health for individuals at all ages.

“Previous studies proposed the existence of an association between vitamin D deficiency and risk of 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, lead study author. “For most people, 4,000 IU per day of vitamin D3 will be needed to achieve the effective levels.”

Since many small children develop type 1 diabetes it is a good idea for parents to have blood levels tested and supplement to obtain optimal blood levels. It is already known that optimal vitamin D helps the immune system function better and prevent sickness. It is also known that 70 percent of U.S. children are low on vitamin D.

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