Vitamin D may lower risk of type 2 diabetes

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

A new study from Peking University in Beijing has found higher levels of vitamin D in the body are linked to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes.

The researchers tested the link between levels of vitamin D in the blood and the risk of type 2 diabetes, and whether any association is modified by sleep behaviours.

The analysis included 350,211 people free of diabetes participating in the U.K. Biobank.

During an eight years of follow-up, there were 6,940 people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The team found that vitamin D levels were strongly linked to a lower risk of the condition.

There was also a strong interaction between levels of the vitamin and overall sleep patterns on the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Among those with healthier sleep patterns, the inverse association between high vitamin D levels and type 2 diabetes was more prominent.

Daytime sleepiness showed the strongest interaction with vitamin D levels.

The lower risk of type 2 diabetes linked to high vitamin D levels was more prominent among people who were not sleepy during the daytime compared to those with excessive daytime sleepiness.

These findings may change diabetes prevention strategies by lifting levels vitamin D supplementation among people with sleep disorders.

The study was recently published in Diabetes Care.

Vitamin D

Around 4 million Australian adults have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential for the body to absorb calcium and for bone health and muscle and nerve function.

A deficiency can lead to osteopenia (bone loss) and eventually osteoporosis in adults and if severe, rickets in children.

Food alone cannot provide enough vitamin D so the most reliant source is exposure to sunlight in particular, UVB light.

Sun exposure times vary according to the season, location in Australia, skin type and, the how much skin is exposed. To find out more about how much sunlight you need for adequate vitamin D without skin damage, click here.

Prior to taking any vitamin supplement, you should seek advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) or your doctor.

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