Nutrient protects against autoimmune disorders: type 1 diabetes, hair loss, and multiple sclerosis

Type 1 diabetes 

Type 1 diabetes, when the body does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar, is now the most common metabolic disorder in children under 10. In this study, doctors focused on special cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, called islet cells. In some children, the immune system mistakenly attacks islet cells, a precursor of type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D regulates the immune system.

Doctors compared 376 children who developed the islet autoimmune disorder to 1,041 children who did not. Kids that went on to develop islet autoimmune disorder had a genetic variant of the vitamin D receptor gene, had lower levels of vitamin D during infancy and childhood, and were more likely to later develop type 1 diabetes. Kids with higher vitamin D levels were less likely to develop islet autoimmune disorder.

Spot hair loss

Another autoimmune disorder causes the hair to fall out in circular spots on the head and elsewhere on the body, a condition called alopecia areata (A A). In this study, doctors compared vitamin D levels in 20 children with A A to 34 children without. While vitamin D levels between the two groups were similar, kids with A A and low levels of vitamin D had more numerous, severe, and longer-lasting A A symptoms.

Multiple sclerosis

In this study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in blood samples from 800,000 women during prenatal testing. Nine years later, the team identified 1,092 cases of multiple sclerosis (MS) from the group, and compared these samples to 2,123 samples from women who had not developed MS. Women whose vitamin D levels were at least 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/ mL) were 39 percent less likely to have developed MS compared to women whose vitamin D levels were 12 ng/mL or lower.

Reference: Diabetes Journals; October, 2017, db170802, Published Online
Natural Insights for Well Being March 2018
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