Vitamin D may fight diabetes
In a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, researchers found that mice with a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to develop cell behavior that leads to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The scientists targeted immune cells in mice, and blocked their ability to absorb and use vitamin D. This caused the mice to become resistant to insulin, develop plaques in their blood, and produced more glucose. The results, published in Cell Reports showed that the inflammatory behavior led to the development of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. The researchers also noted that blocking the absorption of vitamin D in the mice caused immune cells to instead transport fat.
They believe the findings could help provide scientists with a new target for therapy because it's much easier to target something in the blood than it is to target the same cells after they become part of the wall of a blood vessel.
Bone marrow transplants that provided healthy amounts of vitamin D reversed the inflammatory behavior in the mice, and made them more sensitive to glucose. Scientists are currently conducting human clinical trials to see if inflammation can be reversed in humans.