During the winter months, when the body does not produce as much vitamin D from the sun as it would during the summer, the government and the NHS recommend supplements to boost the immune system.
Vitamin D is used by the body to maintain strong bones, teeth and muscles.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to health problems such as rickets in children or a painful bone condition called osteomalacia that affects adults.
However, some research suggests that vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
As mentioned, cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are on the rise.
Forecasts from the charity Diabetes UK suggest that more than five million people in the UK could have some form of diabetes by 2030.
Therefore, it is important to know what people can do to reduce their risk of developing the disease.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that those who took vitamin D supplements were 12% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
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Although this was not significantly different from those who did not take the supplement, it does show that vitamin D could impact a person’s likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
In addition, another study, this time in children, found that children with high levels of vitamin D had a lower probability, specifically 41%, of developing islet autoimmunity.
The reason this is important is that one of the signs of type 1 diabetes is islet autoimmunity.
Although these studies show that vitamin D could impact a person’s likelihood of developing diabetes, more research is needed before a direct link can be established.
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When it comes to type 2 diabetes, there are a number of risk factors.
The most important of these is the weight of a person; if they are overweight or obese, this will increase their risk.
Other risk factors, according to the NHS, include:
• If you are 40 or older (25 for South Asians)
• Having a close relative with diabetes
• Are overweight or obese
• Are of Asian, Afro-Caribbean or Black African descent.