Lack of sunlight ups risk of diabetes
The Australian study, which is based on blood tests of over 5,000 people, found that people with good amount of vitamin D were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
The findings could play a major role in combating the condition which has been increasing in recent years, the researchers at Melbourne Pathology said.
Although plenty of exercise and a good diet can help prevent diabetes, the researchers said their study suggests that lack of enough sunshine could also be a contributory factor, the Daily Mail reported.
For their study, the researchers tested the blood of 5,200 people and established that for every extra 25 nanomoles of vitamin D in the blood the chance of getting diabetes was reduced by 24 per cent.
Study co-author Dr Ken Sikaris said: "It`s hard to underestimate how important this could be."
According to the researchers, people who have less than 50 nanomoles of vitamin D per litre have a deficiency.
If the link is fully established between vitamin D and diabetes, those at risk could take dietary supplements to reduce the chance of getting the disease, they said.
A lack of sunshine — and a lack of vitamin D – is estimated to cause 600,000 cases of cancer each year.
Dr Victoria King, from Diabetes UK, said: "It is not possible to recommend supplements to reduce the risk based on the result of this study and people should not see it as a quick fix.
"Diabetes UK is funding research at Glasgow University to help establish if people with Type 2 diabetes might benefit from vitamin D supplements.
"Until we know more, maintaining a healthy weight by keeping to a healthy diet and undertaking regular physical activity is the best way to reduce the risk."