Higher calcium intake could help reverse genetic predisposition to diabetes

For many African Americans, diabetes is a growing problem that's often rooted in genetic predisposition - but what if you could alter that predisposition just by adjusting your diet?

Researchers from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) found that a higher increase in calcium intake, specifically, might help African American children reduce their diabetes risk.

"Even though life expectancy for people with diabetes has gone up, the disease has a significant impact on quality of life, so finding ways to prevent people from developing diabetes is critical," said Laura Tosi, M.D., study investigator. "We were excited to find that higher calcium intake appears to mitigate the impact of some of the risk genes for type 2 diabetes, and we're eager to see if these results hold true in other populations."

African American children don't get enough calcium

The study included 142 African American children between the ages of 5 and 9. Analyzing samples of their DNA, the researchers tested for certain gene variants that are associated with diabetes.

They found children who consumed more calcium had lower body mass index and body fat percentage than children who consumed less calcium. Since body mass and body fat are two strong indicators that can predict diabetes development, the authors concluded that higher calcium consumption can help reduce diabetes risk in these children.

According to the USDA, children should get between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day, which is equivalent to about 3 glasses of milk or 4.5 ounces of cheese.

The study revealed that most African American children are not getting the recommended amount of calcium in their diets.

"Twenty percent of participating children consumed no milk in their diet whatsoever and 55 percent consumed less than one serving of milk per day. Only one-quarter of the children met the USDA standard," said Tosi.

Source: Science Daily

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