D and diabetes

Study finds supplements and diet lower risk

Women who consume diets high in vitamin D may reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a Tufts physician.

Dr. Anastassios G. Pittas, assistant professor of medicine, and his colleagues looked at data on 83,779 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the largest investigations into the risk factors for major chronic diseases in women. The women had no history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer when they enrolled in the study. The researchers evaluated vitamin D and calcium from food and supplements every two to four years. A total of 4,843 new cases of diabetes were documented during 20 years of follow-up.

“Based on the latest guidelines set by the Institute of Medicine, only three percent of women in our cohort had adequate vitamin D intake, and only 24 percent had adequate calcium intake,” Pittas told Reuters. The findings were reported in the journal Diabetes Care.

The researchers saw a 13 percent lower risk for diabetes among women who had the highest intake of vitamin D from supplements, although total intake of the vitamin, whether from supplements or food, was not significantly associated with type 2 diabetes. Women with the highest total calcium intake from food and supplements had a 21 percent lower risk of developing diabetes.

Overall, the lowest risk for diabetes was found among women with the highest combined intakes of vitamin D and calcium.