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Endocrinology Study: Low Vitamin D Puts Kids at Risk for Diabetes

Posted by floriza in Endocrinology

A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas has shown that obese children who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The low vitamin D levels seemed to also correlate with insulin resistance, which is a condition in which the body no longer uses its insulin production to properly metabolize sugar.

Most people believe that type 2 diabetes is a result of a lack of sufficient insulin production, but the disease also develops with severe insulin resistance when the body is simply no longer using the insulin that the pancreas gland produces.

Details of the Study

The 400 children studied included both obese kids and those of normal weight. The study participants ranged in age from six to 16. The majority of the 400 children were obese, while only 13 percent were of normal weight.

The children suffering from obesity were found to have lower levels of vitamin D. Other endocrinology studies have shown that this phenomenon is also true for adults, but this is the first study to show that this lack of vitamin D points to a greater risk of diabetes. While low vitamin D levels do not actually cause type 2 diabetes, these low levels can contribute to the development of the disease.

The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a difficult vitamin to supplement because it is produced in the body primarily as a result of exposure to the sun. Few foods contain the vitamin, but some products, such as milk, are fortified with vitamin D. Foods that directly contain the vitamin are some types of oily fish and eggs.

It could be that children of normal weight spend more time outdoors playing and getting exercise, which accounts for their higher levels of vitamin D.

There is some evidence that vitamin D may stimulate the body to produce more insulin. This would, therefore, combat insulin resistance. Without this assistance, a person with some vulnerability to insulin resistance may then be more prone to developing type 2 diabetes.

More research must be conducted to determine if vitamin D supplementation could help obese children to potentially avoid type 2 diabetes.

Endocrinologists in New Jersey, New York, and other parts of the country can conduct a host of tests to determine if there are hormone deficiencies or abnormalities that can be treated.

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