London, March 13 : Taking vitamin D supplements in early childhood may cut the risk of developing type 1 diabetes later in life, says a new study.
To reach the conclusion, the research team sifted through published evidence on vitamin D supplementation in children and produced five suitable studies. Following this, they re-analysed the pooled data.
The researchers found that children given the additional vitamins were approximately 30 per cent less likely to develop type 1 diabetes compared to those who weren't.
Evidence also suggested that the higher and more regular the intake of vitamin D, the lower the likelihood of developing the disease.
Levels of vitamin D in the body have been connected to the risks of developing multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, reports the British Medical Journal.
The vitamin is manufactured by exposure to sunlight and a considerable difference in the incidence of type 1 diabetes relative to levels of sunlight exposure is shown in the report.
For example a child in Finland is 400 times more likely to develop the disease than a child in Venezuela.
The disease is recognised as an autoimmune disorder, where insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the body's own immune system, and can start in early infancy.
The study is published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.