I was thinking about children’s health as I was being truly amazed by architect Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The “Holy Family”. Work began in 1883 and it is due to be completed in 2026. It is so wonderful that it seems about right to take that long to complete the project.
The aspect of children’s health which is always on my mind and of which I was reminded by the Sagrada Familia is Type 1 Diabetes. Insulin dependent diabetes. The autoimmune disease (AD) that attacks a person’s insulin producing cells in the pancreas. I spoke of 2 young people in my first blog post who died so young from Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Tanner Kitelinger, my wife’s nephew, and Casey Johnson of the famous Johnson & Johnson family.
It is a terrible sentence to acquire T1DM. If you don’t die from complications at a young age, a person is typically destined to develop all sorts of life changing complication in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc… A person with T1DM is constantly having to be hyper-vigilant about every aspect of their life and how it impacts blood sugar control at that moment. What they eat. What they drink. Exercise or lack of physical activity. Stress. It will all impact how much insulin they will need in the next few minutes to hours. Never a break. Day in. Day out.
The very best option when it comes to T1DM is just to prevent it in the first place. Just make sure it never happens. Prevention of a chronic disease and in this case an AD. What a radical concept. But guess what? The scientific literature gives us insights already on how to do this.
It is estimated that by 2050, there will be 600,000 young people in the United states under the age of 20 with T1DM. 600,000! But guess what? The scientific literature tells us that if all infants in their first 12 months of life are given between 1,000 and 2,000 IU per day of Vitamin D, their risk of ever developing T1DM is reduced by 85%. 85%! Almost 9 out of 10 cases of T1DM in young people could be prevented.
Let’s say that this information that I am currently sharing with you here (and I am quite confident that this is the first time most of you have ever heard of this bit of knowledge that we have) was just the standard of care by 2030. Just the way it is done. Just regular old healthcare by 2030. 12 years from now. 12 years to get everyone to know this information.
If by 2030, every child in the United States was given this, in the big picture, quite tiny dose of Vitamin D their first year of life (most people need between 5,000 and 10,000 IU per day as adults just to stay at a good level once you get good) then by 2050 there would be 510,000 less young people under the age of 20 with T1DM. Not 600,000, maybe only 90,000. 510,000 less! These numbers are achieved by only doing one thing for only one year. How powerful is that?
Seem like a reasonable goal for 12 years from now? By 2030? And then 32 years later, by 2050, we achieve this beautiful result. More than half a million children in the United States alone saved from every getting T1DM.
Got a revolution. Got to revolution.