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[IP] Vitamin D beneficial for kids...?

Health - Reuters - updated 10:26 AM ET Nov 2    > <A HREF="http://rd.yahoo.com/addtomy/*http://edit.yahoo.com/config/set_news?.add=rh">Add to My Yahoo!</A>   

Friday November 2 10:25 AM ET 

Vitamin D May Cut Risk of Type 1 Diabetes: Study

By Suzanne RostlerNEW YORK (Reuters Health)

 - Infants who receive the recommended daily dose of vitamin D may have a 
lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes, researchers report.Babies who 
received at least 2,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily were 
nearly 80% less likely to develop type 1 diabetes over the next three decades 
compared with infants who had lower intakes of the vitamin, according to 
findings published in the November 3rd issue of The Lancet.

It is not clear how vitamin D may lower the risk of type 1 diabetes, which 
occurs when the body's own immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells 
of the pancreas. However, vitamin D has been shown to suppress certain cells 
of the immune system that may play a role in the development of the 
disorder.``As type 1 diabetes is considered to be an autoimmune disease, it 
seems likely that vitamin D would be needed in enabling the optimal function 
of the immune system and in preventing too aggressive attacks against the 
body's own tissues,'' Dr. Elina Hypponen, the study's lead author, told 
Reuters Health.Current guidelines recommend that infants receive 7.5 to 10 
micrograms (mcg), or about 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily.

 Sources of vitamin D include fatty salt-water fish, fortified cows' milk, 
eggs and infant formulas.Research on animals has shown an association between 
vitamin D and a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes. To investigate the 
relationship in humans, the researchers followed more than 10,000 women who 
were due to give birth in 1966 in northern Finland.New mothers recorded 
whether they gave vitamin D supplements to their children and how much they 
provided, during the first year of life. Researchers tracked the number of 
children who developed type 1 diabetes over 31 years.Nearly 12% of children 
were given vitamin D supplements occasionally during their first year of 
life, 88% received regular vitamin D supplements and less than 1% were not 
given vitamin D. Overall, 81 children were diagnosed with diabetes during the 
study.``These findings bring hope that something can be done in order to 
prevent the disease,'' Hypponen, from the Institute of Child Health in 
London, UK, told Reuters Health in an interview.

But while the study may be good news for families with a history of type 1 
diabetes, the results may not apply to children in countries that receive 
more natural sunlight. In northern Finland, there are just 2 hours of sun 
daily during the month of December.Ultraviolet light triggers a reaction in 
the skin that helps the body synthesize its own vitamin D. People with darker 
skin need more sunlight than their paler counterparts.In an accompanying 
editorial, Dr. Jill M. Norris from the University of Colorado in Denver adds 
that children who receive infant formula instead of breast milk, which 
contains inadequate amounts of vitamin D, may also be less likely suffer from 
a deficiency of vitamin D.``The emphasis on breast-feeding, the advice to 
keep babies out of the sun, and the increase in use of sunscreen when infants 
and toddlers are in the sun may act together to decrease the intake and 
synthesis of the sunshine vitamin,'' Norris writes.

SOURCE: The Lancet 2001;358:1476-1478, 1500-1503. 
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