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March 6, 2000


Question from Australia:

My 3 year old son was diagnosed with diabetes 6 months ago. He is, we are told, in a honeymoon period. Is there any research or evidence that supplementing his diet with vitamin B will prolong the honeymoon?


One of the B vitamins called nicotinamide was extensively tested for its ability to prolong the honeymoon period. The outcomes in children were uniformly negative even when enhanced with other antioxidants like Vitamin E. It has been generally supposed therefore that by the time autoimmune diabetes has become insulin dependent there can be no permanent recovery of insulin production. If however the process can be detected before this stage by testing for islet cell antibodies, as has been done in two school districts in Auckland, nicotinamide has been shown to defer insulin dependance for up to eight years in about two thirds of susceptible children. For this reason, if there are any other children in the family, it might be a good idea to talk to their doctor about getting an antibody test.