Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Type 1 Diabetes
Previous studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes mellitus have low levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25OHD), a serum as a marker of vitamin D status. However, most of these studies were conducted among people whose sunlight exposure may be limited since they were living in high latitudes in northern Europe.
A new study shows that vitamin D levels among children with type 1 diabetes mellitus are low, even in a subtropical region, where sunlight exposure is much greater, particularly in Australia.
Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin which has been exposed to ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight. It is considered to be particularly important in helping to modify an immune response that destroys pancreatic islet cells which produces insulin, a hormone that is lacking among type 1 diabetics.
The study, which was recently published online in Pediatric Diabetes, was led by Ristan M. Greer, PhD, from Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia.
In their study, the researchers measured vitamin D levels of 56 children with type 1 diabetes and 46 participants without the disease. All participants lived in Brisbane, Australia, which is located at a latitude where sunlight exposure is abundant.
The authors report that vitamin D levels were found to be significantly lower in children with type 1 diabetes compared with children without diabetes. In addition, children with type 1 diabetes reported lower levels of outdoor exposure and mean ultraviolet exposure. However, the investigators found that there were no significant differences between the 2 groups of children in terms of vitamin D receptor polymorphisms (genetic variations), which have been associated with self-directed immune responses and diabetes-related complications. The authors also noted that 14 children who had been newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes had the lowest vitamin D levels.
Melville, N. Lower Vitamin D Levels Linked to Type 1 Diabetes. Medscape.