About one year ago, I received an emergency call from a friend telling me that her son was rushed to the hospital. It was difficult to grasp her message due to the frantic nature of her voice but after several seconds, it sank in. Her 7 year old son was diagnosed with diabetes…juvenile onset…type 1. She lives in the neighborhood, our children go to school together, we share similar parenting philosophies, and then it hit me hard; it could be me making that call! A call no parent wants to make. And while it’s not a death sentence, thanks to modern medicine (although ironically the very medicine may be related to the rise of the condition – see #4 below, but I digress), people live with type 1 diabetes. With the proper diet and multiple insulin injections throughout the day, you can live…but as a parent it’s a heartbreaking experience and for the child, hardship. So if there were proven ways to prevent such a fate for a child, wouldn’t you consider them?
Dr. Mercola suggests the following steps to help prevent type 1 Diabetes:
1. Optimize your child’s vitamin D levels.
According to Dr. Michael Holick, one of the world’s leading vitamin D experts, children who take a vitamin D supplement from age 1 onwards reduce their risk of developing type 1 diabetes by 80 percent.
Studies also show that pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D could increase their child’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Based on the latest research, Dr. Mercola recommends 35 IUs (international units) of vitamin D3 per pound of body weight. This translates to:
• 35 IUs per pound per day for children below 5
• 2500 IUs for children between the ages of 5 to 10
• 5000 IUs for adults ages 18 to 30
• 5000 IUs for pregnant women
Remember: these recommendations are only an estimate because it’s just not possible to make a blanket recommendation that will cover everyone’s needs. The only way to determine how much vitamin D you need is to get your blood tested, Dr. Mercola explains. The correct vitamin D test to order is the 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which you can get through Lab Corp. The dosage recommendations for vitamin D supplementation are updated depending on the latest research.
2. Breastfeed your baby.
Bottle-fed infants tend to grow faster, but this is not a good thing. Babies that gain a lot of weight in their first year may have an increased risk of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Mercola also recommends breast milk over milk-based formula because exposure to pasteurized cow’s milk early in life may increase a child’s risk of type 1 diabetes.
3. Avoid feeding cereal to your infant.
Cereal is typically one of the first solid foods to be introduced to babies when they reach the 4-to-6 month mark. But grains are not a healthy choice for most people, including infants. Babies who are given cereal may also increase their risk of type 1 diabetes. Give your child a vegetable source of carbohydrates instead.
4. Do some research before deciding on vaccinating your infant.
Speculation is rife that the rising incidences of autoimmune diseases in children are a result of the growing number of vaccinations received. Dr. Donald W. Miller points out that there has been a 17-fold increase in type 1 diabetes — from 1 in 7,100 children in the 1950s to 1 in 400 today.
Vitamin D and Diabetes March, 2008