Low vitamin D levels linked with increased risk of type 1 diabetes (again)

Type 1 diabetes is a condition characterised by raised levels of sugar in the bloodstream, and it’s underlying cause is a lack of insulin (usually secreted by the pancreas). The condition is ‘auto-immune’ in nature, which means that it is caused by the body’s immune system reacting to and damaging it’s own tissues (in this case the so-called ‘beta cells’ normally responsible for making insulin. Vitamin D deficiency has been noted to have links with an enhanced risk of autoimmune disease, which at least opens up some possibility that vitamin D deficiency might be a risk factor for type 1 diabetes.

In a recent study [1], vitamin D levels were checked in children aged 6-12 with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes. Average vitamin D levels were found to be about 20.02 ng/mL (50 mmol/L). In healthy ‘controls’, vitamin D levels were found to be an average of about 26 ng/mL (65 mmol/L). The results were statistically significant, and caused the authors to conclude that ‘vitamin D levels are low at the onset of T1D, and they strongly support the need for further clinical studies to prospectively evaluate the effect of vitamin D supplementation on T1D [type 1 diabetes] rates in this patient population’.

Actually, this is not the first evidence linking low levels of vitamin D with heightened type 1 diabetes risk. Back in 2008, I reported on a meta-analysis in which 5 relevant studies were lumped together which showed the same thing. For more on this study, and a bit more about how vitamin D deficiency might enhance type 1 diabetes risk, see here.


1. Borkar VV, et al. Low levels of vitamin D in North Indian children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes. Pediatric Diabetes 9th November 2009 [Epub ahead of print]

4 Responses to Low vitamin D levels linked with increased risk of type 1 diabetes (again)

  1. Ted Hutchinson 20 November 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    Intake of vitamin D and risk of type 1 diabetes Hyppönen E shows back in 2001 that effective amount of Vitamin D3 in early childhood prevents the development of Type 1 Diabetes in later life. As I understand it that paper is saying 80% of Type I diabetes preventable with effective strength D3 supplements during first year of life.

    Health professionals don’t seem to understand that human skin makes 10,000iu~20,000iu/D3 when given full body sun exposure and that at latitude 32 Hollis and Wagner demonstrated 6400iu/daily was required to maximize the flow of Vitamin D3 in human breast milk.

    Average UK adult vitamin D status is less than a third of that required associated with least incidence of chronic illness.

    The cost of testing 25(0H)D is around £24 and the cost of a years supply of effective strength 5000iu/D3 is roughly £10.

    If women could be persuaded to correct Vitamin D deficiency before becoming pregnant they would reduce the risk of preeclampsia, insulin resistance and gestational diabetes mellitus during pregnancy but also improve fetal brain development and immunological functions.

  2. Ted Hutchinson 22 November 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    In this You Tube Video Frank Garland, PhD, discusses vitamin D and the opportunity for prevention of diabetes. Vitamin D and Diabetes-Can We Prevent it?

  3. Karen Kern 6 April 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    there is a rising incidence of Diabetes these days and you can blame high sugar diet and a lifestyle that is low on physical activities.


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