What is the D*action Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Prevention project?
Evidence suggests a role of vitamin D and omega-3 in possibly reversing or stopping progression from developing autoantibodies to a T1D diagnosis. The D*action T1D Prevention project will help identify potential changes in T1D diagnosis that may result from vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid testing and education, as well as provide additional education about islet autoantibodies, inflammation, and other T1D related information.
Why are vitamin D and omega-3s important to T1D prevention?
Multiple studies have published the observed link between lower 25(OH)D concentration and the increased incidence and development of T1D. Recently, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Diabetes Association and the Endocrine Society have recognized that T1D should be diagnosed when a person develops multiple islet autoantibodies (stage 1), possibly irreversibly leading to dysglycemia (stage 2) and symptomatic hyperglycemia (stage 3). However, anecdotal evidence suggests vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids could possibly reverse or stop this progression. It is also known that progression to many forms of diabetes, including T1D, can be predicted by measuring levels of inflammation. Numerous studies show that intake of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids reduces inflammation.
Experts also believe that T1D can be triggered by vitamin D3 deficiency, which is common. An extremely delicate membrane in the pancreas separates the endocrine cells that produce insulin (beta cells) from the exocrine cells that secrete pancreatic enzymes. The beta cells reside in fluid compartments, and are protected there by the membrane that surrounds them. Vitamin D3 strengthens this membrane and reduces the intensity of the immune attack on beta cells, helping to decrease the risk of developing autoantibodies and T1D.
Who can participate in the T1D Prevention project?
Anyone who is interested in tracking their vitamin D, omega-3, HbA1c and hsCRP levels, and who is concerned about T1D, can participate in this project. This includes anyone of any age, with or without a T1D diagnosis.
We strongly encourage enrollment of those who have tested positive for one or more of the known islet cell autoantibodies, and have not yet been diagnosed with T1D. Those who are family members of individuals diagnosed with T1D, and those who are newly diagnosed, are also welcome to enroll, however, they will not qualify for the scholarship for free testing .
Can I participate if I live outside of the United States?
Yes, individuals from any country are invited to join, however, some countries may have mailing restrictions that could affect shipment of the home blood spot test kits.
What is involved in being a participant in the project? What are the steps?
Participating in this project includes providing health information via an online questionnaire and completing a home blood spot test to measure the vitamin D, Omega-3 Index, AA:EPA Ratio, HbA1c and hsCRP levels every 3 months, for a period of 5 years or for as long as the participant chooses. The steps to enroll and participate in the T1D Prevention project are as follows:
- Enroll at grassrootshealth.net/t1d
- After registration, click to complete the questionnaire (have any previous autoantibody test results and supplements taken available for reference)
- Order the Inflammation Panel test kit by clicking the “Order Test Kits” link at the top of the page
(If you are positive for one or more of the islet cell autoantibodies, you may qualify for a scholarship for free testing. Once the questionnaire is complete, email [email protected] to request scholarship help.)
- The home test kit will be shipped once the kit has been ordered or requested. Complete the blood spot test as soon as it arrives and mail it back. For help on how to do this, watch this video. Be sure to include your Participant ID, date of collection, and date of birth on the back of the card.
- Results will be posted to your online account. An email will be sent to you to notify you when results are available.
- Tools and education will be provided to help you decide what actions to take to improve your nutrient and inflammation levels if needed. For example, if vitamin D levels are not in the recommended range, a vitamin D calculator can be used to calculate the additional amount of vitamin D needed to go from a current level to a target level.
- Approximately 3 months after results have been posted, you will receive a reminder to participate again with another online questionnaire and home blood spot test.
How much does it cost to participate?
The Inflammation Panel test kit costs $208 plus shipping, and needs to be completed every 3 months. It includes testing for vitamin D, Omega-3 Index, AA:EPA and Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratios, hsCRP and HbA1c. Scholarships are available to individuals who are autoantibody positive and not yet diagnosed with T1D (see below).
How do I qualify to receive a scholarship for participation?
Scholarships are available to those who have been identified as being at risk for developing T1D, by having tested positive for one or more of the known islet autoantibodies for T1D. The scholarship will cover the all tests in the Inflammation Panel listed above (Vitamin D, Omega-3 Index, AA:EPA Ratio, hs-CRP and HbA1c).
If you are positive for one or more of the islet cell autoantibodies, and you would like to request a scholarship for free testing, please register for your participation, complete the questionnaire, and email [email protected] to request scholarship help.
Please consider a donation towards this scholarship fund – help children and their families gain access to this opportunity to receive free testing and help prevent T1D.
Can I sign up my whole family in the project?
Yes! A separate account with unique email and Participant ID are needed for each member. However, kits can be ordered from one account if needed.