Calcium protects against type 2 diabetes


Calcium may help protect against type 2 diabetes mellitus in children at increased risk for the disease.


Calcium may help protect against type 2 diabetes mellitus in children at increased risk for the disease.

Researchers from the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, District of Columbia, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, found that the US Department of Agriculture-recommended amount of dietary calcium helps protect against type 2 diabetes in overweight and obese African American children.

Presenting their findings at the 2014 Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, California, the investigators analyzed DNA samples, nutrition information, body mass index (BMI), and a number of other health factors in 142 black children aged 5 to 9 years. None of them actually had type 2 diabetes; however, 40% were overweight and 20% were obese-strong risk factors for developing the disease later in life.

The scientists found that those children who consumed higher amounts of calcium had significantly lower BMIs and lower percentages of body fat than those children with lower calcium intakes.

Although the researchers are not certain of the mechanism behind the association, they suspect that calcium causes epigenetic alterations in how diabetes-linked genes are expressed.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about one-third or fewer of US children aged 6 years and older achieve the recommended daily adequate intake for calcium. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for calcium is 1000 mg/day for males and females between the ages of 4 and 8 years. Children and adolescents between 9 and 18 years of age should consume 1300 mg/day to maximize peak bone mass. 



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