‘Cheap’ supplement could reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Diabetes complications stem from impaired insulin production, which raises the spectre of dangerously high blood sugar levels. While it’s no secret that you can tame the threat posed by high glucose by adjusting your diet, readily available supplements could do one better.

Although some dietary supplements like selenium have been linked to harmful effects, others like vitamin D pills in the colder months in the UK are non-negotiable.

The government recommends looking into supplementing with the “sunshine” vitamin during this time, as you can’t synthesise enough of this nutrient organically from the sunlight.

The fat-soluble vitamin, found in foods such as oily fish, red meat and egg yolks, helps to keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

Now, a new study, published in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, makes even a stronger case for the essential nutrient.

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The researchers from Tufts Medical Centre, in Boston, suggest that taking vitamin D supplements could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults with prediabetes by 15 percent.

If you aren’t aware, a person with prediabetes has higher than normal blood sugar levels but they are not high enough to be classified as the full-blown condition.

However, these people are at a greater risk of developing the condition in the future.

The research team reviewed and analysed three clinical trials before reaching this finding.

Over a three-year period, a new onset of diabetes occurred in 22.7 percent of participants who received vitamin D, compared to 25 percent of those who received a placebo.

Drawing on these results, the researchers then estimated how vitamin D supplements would impact adults with prediabetes across the globe.

They found “that” cheap vitamin D supplements could delay the development of the blood sugar condition.

Dr Anastassios Pittas, Chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Tufts Medical Center, said: “Our results show vitamin D provides a modest benefit in lowering diabetes risk in adults with high-risk prediabetes.

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“This could have significant public health implications for the 96 million adults in the US and more than 400 million people worldwide who are at risk for diabetes.

“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 maximise benefit in this population, with little or no risk of any side effects.”

The research team is now planning to design future studies to answer these outstanding questions.

Type two diabetes usually affects the older population but the condition is becoming increasingly more common in younger people.

Some tell-tale signs include increased hunger, unintended weight loss, tiredness, blurry vision and increased thirst.

One of the key ways to manage the blood sugar condition comes down to your diet which needs to focus on keeping your blood glucose in check.

The Mayo Clinic explains you might also be given diabetes medication or prescribed insulin therapy.

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