High prenatal vitamin D lowers type 1 diabetes risk in children

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By David Liu, PHD

Tuesday Aug 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in the journal Diabetes suggests that pregnant women should make sure to have sufficient vitamin D in their systems in order to reduce risk of type 1 diabetes in their children.

The study showed that pregnant women who had highest levels of vitamin D measured as 25-hydroxy-vitamin D during pregnancy were 100 percent less likely to have a child who will develop type 1 diabetes prior to 15 years of age, compared to those with lowest vitamin D levels.

Previous studies have suggested that taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy or early childhood may reduce risk of type 1 diabetes.  The current study showed that low vitamin D prenatally may increase risk of type 1 diabetes in the child(ren). 

For the study, Ingvild M. Sørensen of Oslo University Hospital Ullevål in Oslo, Norway and colleagues analysed data from 29,072 women in Norway, of whom, 109 women giving birth to a child who developed type 1 diabetes before 15 years of age and 219 control women whose children did not develop the medical condition.

Dividing the levels of prenatal vitamin D into quartiles, a higher level of vitamin D during pregnancy was associated with lower risk for type 1 diabetes in children.

Women who had their prenatal vitamin D levels in the lower quartile were twice as likely as those whose levels of vitamin D during pregnancy were in the highest quartile to have a child who will develop type 1 diabetes.

The researchers write "our findings provide support for the initiation of a randomized intervention trial to prevent type 1 diabetes in children by enhancing maternal 25-OH D status during pregnancy."

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