BOSTON, July 11 (UPI) -- The lack of calcium and vitamin D intake may be part of the reason behind the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States, suggests a study.
Researchers at Tufts University in Boston, say drinking more milk -- a leading source of calcium and vitamin D in the American diet -- could help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 15 percent.
In the meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the researchers find chronically low levels of vitamin D were linked to as high as 46 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes.
However, boosting vitamin D alone would likely have little effect in healthy adults -- instead, the researchers suggest that a combination of vitamin D and calcium, like that found in milk, would have the greatest potential to help prevent diabetes, especially among those at highest risk for the disease.
The researchers suggest calcium and vitamin D may affect the body's ability to produce or utilize insulin, the hormone the body makes to process sugar that is impaired in those with diabetes and pre-diabetes.