Giving children vitamin D supplements may reduce their risk of developing type 1 diabetes, a new study shows.
Researchers from the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals found youngsters who are given vitamin D are 29% less likely to develop the disease.
They reviewed five studies, and also discovered that the higher and the more regular the dose, the lower the likelihood of suffering from the condition.
The report, which is published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, said: "It is commonest in people of European descent and affects two million people in Europe and North America.
"There is a marked geographic variation in incidence, with a child in Finland being about 400 times more likely than a child in Venezuela to acquire the disease."
Dr Victoria King, research manager at the charity Diabetes UK, added: "This study suggests that taking vitamin D in childhood has the potential to prevent the development of type 1 diabetes.
"However, much more research, in particular controlled trials which compares the results when one group of people are given vitamin D supplements and one group is not, are needed before we can confirm a concrete association between vitamin D and type 1 diabetes."