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Diabetes is one of the leading lifestyle diseases that is affecting a large number of population across the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. The number seems to be increasing further.
Well, a new research has found that getting enough of vitamin D during infancy and childhood can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes in kids genetically predisposed to have the disease.
During the study, researchers from University of Colorado in the US examined the association between vitamin D levels in the blood and islet autoimmunity. Islet autoimmunity, detected by antibodies that appear when the immune system attacks the islet cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, is a precursor to type 1 diabetes.
According to the researchers, type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease that is increasing by 3-5 per cent annually worldwide. The disease is now the most common metabolic disorder in children under age 10. In younger children, the number of new cases is particularly high.
Vitamin D plays an important role for type 1 diabetes as it regulates the immune system and autoimmunity. Moreover, vitamin D status varies by latitude. However, associations between vitamin D levels and islet autoimmunity have been inconsistent.
This may be due to different study designs, population variation in vitamin D levels, or a failure to account for the combined effect of exposure and underlying genetic variation in the vitamin D pathway.
The findings are part of The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study, which looked for triggers and protective factors for type 1 diabetes in 8,676 children with elevated type 1 diabetes risk.
The children were followed with blood samples drawn every three to six months from infancy, to determine the presence of islet autoimmunity, as well as levels of vitamin D.
For the study, researchers compared 376 children who developed islet autoimmunity with 1,041 children who did not. During the study it was found that children with a genetic variant in the vitamin D receptor gene, vitamin D levels in infancy and childhood were lower in those that went on to develop islet autoimmunity compared with those that did not develop autoimmunity.
The study is the first to show that higher childhood vitamin D levels are significantly associated with a decreased risk of IA. "Since this association does not prove cause-and-effect, we look to future prospective studies to confirm whether a vitamin D intervention can help prevent type 1 diabetes," said Jill Norris, from University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz).
The study, was recently published in the journal Diabetes.
What is type-1 diabetes? Know its symptoms:
Type 1 diabetes which was earlier known as insulin-dependent, is a condition in which there is a deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin.
The major symptoms of type-1 diabetes include excessive excretion of urine (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes, and fatigue. One of the major problem with type-1 diabetes is that these symptoms can occur all of a sudden.
(With Agency Inputs)