(NaturalNews) High levels of dietary vitamin C intake may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Institute of Metabolic Science at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, England, and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
At the study's start, the researchers measured the vitamin C levels in blood samples taken from 21,831 healthy women and men between the ages of 40 and 75. Twelve years later, 312 of the women and 423 of the men had developed Type 2 diabetes, totaling 3.2 percent of the study population.
Comparing vitamin C blood levels with diabetes risk, the researchers found that participants with the highest vitamin C levels had a 62 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than participants who had the lowest blood levels of the vitamin.
Using survey information provided by participants at the beginning of the study, the researchers adjusted their findings for the influence of other diabetes risk factors such as age, sex, alcohol or tobacco intake, physical activity level, body mass index and a family history of the disease. The association between vitamin C status and lower diabetes risk did not change.
The researchers noted that vitamin C levels are a very reliable marker of fruit and vegetable consumption. The data "re-endorse the public health message of the beneficial effect of increasing total fruit and vegetable intake," they wrote, and provide "persuasive evidence of a beneficial effect of vitamin C and fruit and vegetable intake on diabetes risk."
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 171 million people around the world currently suffer from diabetes, a number that is expected to increase to 350 million by 2030. In the United States, the American Diabetes Association estimates that 20 million people, or 7 percent of the population, have been diagnosed with the disease. Another 6.2 million are diabetic but undiagnosed, with 41 million more considered prediabetic.