The study showed that a higher plasma Vitamin C level, and to a lesser extent fruit and vegetable intake, were associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Findings were based a population based cohort study of men and women aged 40-75 years who lived in Norfolk, England.
Mean age of the study population was 58 (9.2) years and 21,831 men and women were included in the analysis of the 12 year study.
The study showed a strong, inverse relationship between plasma vitamin C level and the risk of developing diabetes.
The potential risk of developing diabetes was 62% lower for those in the top quintile of plasma vitamin C, compared with those in the bottom quintile.
A similar association was shown between plasma vitamin C and diabetes in participants who had a haemoglobin A1c level of less than 7%.
A weaker inverse association was found between the intake of fruit and vegetables and the risk of diabetes.
Authors of the report said:. ‘The strong independent association observed in this prospective study, together with biological plausibility, provides persuasive evidence of a beneficial effect of vitamin C and fruit and vegetable intake on diabetes risk.
‘Because fruit and vegetables are the main sources of vitamin C, the findings suggest that eating even a small quantity of fruit and vegetables may be beneficial and that the protection against diabetes increases progressively with the quantity of fruit and vegetables consumed.’
Archives of Internal Medicine. (2008) 168: 1493-1499