A Diabetes UK funded study has shown that a dose of vitamin D in wintertime could reduce the risk of heart attacks in people with Type 2 diabetes.
The research, carried out at the University of Dundee, also found that the lack of winter sunlight for people living in Scotland - and other northern European nations - could be a factor in the country's high rates of heart disease.
“This is exciting new research for people with Type 2 diabetes," explained Matt Hunt, Science Information Manager at Diabetes UK.
"Heart disease is one of the most serious complications of diabetes and it claims the lives of 80 per cent of people with the condition. Diabetes UK wants to do all it can to help those affected.
“Low vitamin D levels can have dangerous effects for people with diabetes. This is why Diabetes UK funded this study, which has shown that a dose of vitamin D lowers blood pressure and improves blood vessel function in people with Type 2 diabetes.
“However, as this research is still at an early stage, we would not encourage people to start taking vitamin D supplements.
“Diabetes UK has provisionally agreed to fund the next stage of this study. Researchers will look at whether a bigger dose of vitamin D has a better effect and whether it works if given during the summer when sun allows the skin to make its own vitamin D.
“The results will help to work out exactly who could benefit from vitamin D. In turn, this could reduce the high chances of heart attack and stroke in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
“It would be interesting to see further research on the subject in places like Scandinavia where there is little sunshine at certain times of the year.”