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Diabetes ups death risk from cancer in Asians

Raghu Kshitiz

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NEW YORK —  Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is associated with 26% increased risk of death from any cancer of kidney, thyroid, liver and prostate in Asians, according to a cohort-based study.

The new findings, based on seven Asian countries — China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, and Bangladesh — showed that having Type 2 diabetes led to a 26 per cent increase in the risk of dying from any form of cancer, even when taking into account factors such as BMI, alcohol consumption and smoking.

For the study, the team analysed 19 cohorts with a population of 658,611 east Asians and 112,686 South Asians.The average age of participants was 53.9 at the start of the study, and 37,343 cancer deaths were identified during a mean follow-up time of 12.7 years.

This is the first large study of its kind to focus on Asian populations, according to the authors, but previous studies on other racial and ethnic groups found similar results.

Previous research had suggested that at any given body mass index (BMI), Asians are more susceptible to developing insulin resistance, and go on to have a higher prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in comparison with Europeans.

Furthermore, statistically significant links were found between Type 2 diabetes and the risk of death from cancers of liver, pancreas, bile duct, colorectum and breast.

The strongest association was observed for cancers of the liver, thyroid and kidney (double risk in each case), and endometrium (2.7 times increased risk) and breast (1.7 times increased risk).

“Type 2 diabetes should be considered as a risk factor for cancers in Asians, especially for liver cancer which has a high incidence in Asians,” said Yu Chen, Associate Professor at the New York University School of Medicine.

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But diabetes was not statistically significantly associated with risk of death from leukemia and cancers of the bladder, cervix, esophagus, stomach, and lung.

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Vitamin D deficiency linked higher diabetes risk

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — People with vitamin D deficiency might have a greater risk of developing diabetes, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Seoul National University said in a new study report.

For the study published in PLOS One, researchers studied 903 healthy adults without pre-diabetes or diabetes during clinic visits from 1997 to 1999, and followed up with them for 10 years, to study their levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin and their medical condition.

Among the study participants, who had a mean age of 74, researchers found 47 new cases of diabetes and 337 new cases of pre-diabetes.

“Further research is needed on whether high 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels might prevent type 2 diabetes or the transition from pre-diabetes to diabetes,” study co-author Dr. Cedric F Garland, adjunct professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, said in a press release.

“But this paper and past research indicate there is a strong association,” he said.

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The 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight, also can be received through certain foods and supplements. The vitamin helps in growth and development of bones and teeth, and resistance against certain diseases.

The minimum healthy level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in blood plasma was listed as 30 nanograms per milliliter, which is 10 ng/ml above the level recommended in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine, now part of The National Academies.

“We found that participants with blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D that were above 30 ng/ml had one-third of the risk of diabetes and those with levels above 50 ng/ml had one-fifth of the risk of developing diabetes,” first author Dr. Sue K. Park, of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea, said.

Those below 30 ng/ml were considered vitamin D deficient and up to five times at greater risk for developing diabetes than those above 50 ng/ml.

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To reach the D levels of 30 ng/ml, Garland said it would require dietary supplements of 3,000 to 5,000 international units per day, but less with moderate daily sun exposure.

The recommended average daily amount of vitamin D is 400 IU for children up to 1 year, 600 IU for ages 1 to 70 years and 800 IU for persons over 70, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Good food sources for vitamin D include egg yolk, shrimp,salmon, sardines, fortified milk, cereal, yogurt and orange juice.

With Agency Inputs

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