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A study published this week found that regular vitamin D supplementation may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes among millions of adults who have prediabetes.
A team of researchers with the Tufts Medical Center found that taking the vitamin supplements has been associated with a 15 percent drop in the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes among those adults. Their study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Feb. 7.
Dr. Anastassios Pittas, chief of endocrinology at Tufts, said in a statement, noted that the findings “could have significant public health implications for the 96 million adults in the U.S. (38 percent of all U.S. adults) and more than 400 million people worldwide who are at risk for diabetes,” adding, “However, there are still some important unknowns.”
“For example, we do not know the optimal vitamin D dose or formulation, and whether we should be aiming for a specific vitamin D level in the blood that would maximize benefit in this population, with little or no risk of any side effects,” he said, adding that their study shows the vitamin gives a “modest benefit” in lowering the risk. “Our team plans to design future studies to answer these important questions,” he said.
The researchers came to their conclusions though carrying out a systematic review and meta-analysis of three clinical trials that compared vitamin D supplementation’s impacts on diabetes.
In a three-year follow-up period, it was found that “new-onset diabetes occurred in 22.7 percent of adults who received vitamin D and 25 percent of those who received placebo,” said a news release. The researchers said that because hundreds of millions of people suffer from Type 2 diabetes around the world, their findings could delay the development of diabetes for millions of people.
“According to the authors, extrapolating their findings to the more than 374 million adults worldwide who have prediabetes suggests that inexpensive vitamin D supplementation could delay the development of diabetes in more than 10 million people,” it said.
How to Get Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced by the body when ultraviolet rays from the sun hit the skin. It’s also added to some foods or supplements.
Some food sources include cod liver oil, salmon, swordfish, tuna fish, egg yolk, beef liver, and sardines. Orange juice, dairy products, and cereals are often “fortified” with the vitamin.
“Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D3. The best sources are the flesh of fatty fish and fish liver oils,” says an article from Harvard University’s School of Public Health. “Smaller amounts are found in egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver. Certain mushrooms contain some vitamin D2; in addition some commercially sold mushrooms contain higher amounts of D2 due to intentionally being exposed to high amounts of ultraviolet light. Many foods and supplements are fortified with vitamin D like dairy products and cereals.”
Mushrooms like morel, chanterelle, maitake, and some portabellas tend to contain vitamin D, although levels vary, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, says that chanterelle mushrooms have about 114 IU per cup, whereas cooked pink salmon has 647 IU of vitamin D per half fillet.
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