Vitamin A deficiency linked to diabetes

Vitamin A plays a an important role in immunity and beta cell development. Type 2 diabetes occurs when insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas no longer function properly. A new study published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry looks at a possible connection between the two.

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College examined beta cells in two groups of adult mice. One group was genetically engineered so they could not store vitamin A, meanwhile the second group could store vitamin A. The mice that could not store vitamin A had their beta cells die, so they were not able to produce insulin.

Also, when vitamin A was removed from the diets of the healthy mice, it resulted in obvious beta cell reduction, triggering lower insulin production, and higher blood sugar levels. When vitamin A was restored into their diet, the mice regained insulin production and stabilized blood sugar levels as their beta cell production increased.

While more research is required, these initial findings suggest a possible connection between vitamin A consumption and type 2 diabetes. Researchers also believe a synthetic form of vitamin A could potentially reverse the condition, and they plan on testing it in the future.

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