Vitamin D and type I Diabetes
Recent research, published in the journal Diabetes, indicates that vitamin D may help decrease the risk of type I diabetes.
Researchers found that children who were genetically susceptible to type I diabetes had reduced risk of developing the disease with higher levels of vitamin D.
With type I diabetes, the body does not produce adequate amounts of insulin, which is needed to regulate blood glucose levels. Type I diabetes most often develops in childhood; however, it can develop at any age.
In light of these recent research findings, let’s review the best sources of Vitamin D.
The Sun. The best source of vitamin D is the sun. Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin because our skin makes vitamin D through sun exposure.
Dietary Vitamin D. We can also get vitamin D from food; however, there are only a limited number of foods that provide vitamin D. These include:
- fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna
- egg yolks
- fortified foods such as cow’s milk, yogurts and cheese made with fortified milk, goats milk, some milk alternatives (e.g., soy beverages), orange juice, margarine and infant formula
To consume adequate amounts of vitamin D, Canada’s Food Guide recommends that everyone over 2 years of age drink 500 mL (2 cups) of milk or fortified dairy alternative beverage daily.
Vitamin D Supplements. We can also get vitamin D through supplements. Vitamin D supplementation may be required for those who:
- do not get enough sun exposure to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D (due to staying indoors or living in higher latitudes such as Canada), and/or
- do not consume enough dietary vitamin D.
Due to Canada’s higher latitudes, Health Canada recommends that all Canadians over the age of 50 take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.