Vitamin C May Lower Diabetes Risk, While Gum Disease May Indicate It

Abundant dietary vitamin C may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, say researchers from the Institute of Metabolic Science at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, England.

Scientists there followed 21,831 men and women aged 40 to 75 over a 12-year period, during which they tracked diet, exercise, and blood content.  By the end of the study, 423 men and 312 women-3.2 percent of the study group-had developed type 2.

The researchers concluded that the subjects with the highest levels of vitamin C in their blood were 62 percent less likely to develop type 2 than the subjects with lower levels. 

Fruit and vegetables were the subjects’ main sources of vitamin C. The researchers said that other factors commonly associated with a risk for diabetes, such as age, sex, smoking, family history, weight, and alcohol consumption, did not significantly alter the beneficial effects of vitamin C. 

Is Gum Disease a Precursor to Diabetes?

If you have gum disease, your chances of developing type 2 diabetes are nearly double those of people who don’t have gum disease, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. 

That was their conclusion after a 20-year study that tracked 9,000 people without diabetes.

The presence of periodontal disease has often been noted as an accompaniment to diabetes, but nobody is sure whether it is a precursor to the disease or possibly even a contributing factor. 

Because gum disease, like diabetes, involves tissue inflammation, there is some speculation that it is an indicator of susceptibility to inflammatory disease.

Thirty-five percent of adults have some form of gum disease, and one third of those experience a troubling level of infection. 

Researchers don’t know what causes periodontal disease. Theories include genetics, smoking, and dry mouth caused by medications. Treatments include antibiotics, topical gels, extremely deep tooth cleaning, and even surgery to graft tissue from the roof of the mouth onto affected spots to encourage new gum growth.

The hope is that lowering the level of inflammation in the mouth may decrease the likelihood of inflammation developing elsewhere in the body. 

Source: Diabetes Care, July 2008