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Sufficient vitamin D levels in childhood may cut diabetes risk

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NEW YORK — Getting sufficient vitamin D during infancy and childhood can reduce the risk of islet autoimmunity as well as Type 1 diabetes in kids, a study has found.

Vitamin D has long been touted for its profound health benefits, ranging from combating asthma to warding off cancer and improving dental and bone health.

Researchers from University of Colorado in the US examined the association between vitamin D levels in the blood and islet autoimmunity. Islet autoimmunity, detected by antibodies that appear when the immune system attacks the islet cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, is a precursor to type 1 diabetes.

“For several years there has been controversy among scientists about whether vitamin D lowers the risk of developing of islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes,” said Jill Norris, from University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz).

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease that is increasing by 3-5 per cent annually worldwide, researchers said.

Vitamin D represents a candidate protective factor for Type 1 diabetes as it regulates the immune system and autoimmunity, the researchers said.

In the study, published in the journal Diabetes, the team searched for triggers and protective factors in 8,676 children with elevated Type 1 diabetes risk.

The study is the first to show that higher childhood vitamin D levels are significantly associated with a decreased risk of IA. “Since this association does not prove cause-and-effect, we look to future prospective studies to confirm whether a vitamin D intervention can help prevent type 1 diabetes,” Norris said.

In children with a genetic variant in the vitamin D receptor gene, vitamin D levels in infancy and childhood were lower in those that went on to develop islet autoimmunity compared with those that did not develop autoimmunity.

The researchers identified islet autoimmunity in 376 children and compared them with 1,041 children who did not.

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin our body requires to stay in the best of health, and the best source of vitamin D is sun exposure. But the best source of this vitamin for infants is their mother’s milk.

Young children can obtain optimum amount of vitamin D from yogurt, orange juice, milk and fish and short-time exposure to direct sunlight.

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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