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Vitamin A Could Help Treat Diabetes, A New Study Reveals

First Posted: Jun 15, 2017 05:00 AM EDT
Vitamin A
Foods that are rich in vitamin A are carrots, sweet potato, beef liver, kale, squash, eggs, spinach and broccoli, among others.
(Photo : 7activestudio/YouTube screenshot)

Vitamin A could enhance the insulin-producing beta cells function, according to a new study. With this find, Vitamin A could help treat one of the killer diseases in the world, diabetes. This could open opportunity to develop new treatments for diabetes, too.

The new study was published in the Endocrine Journal. It was led by researchers from the United Kingdom and Sweden. The scientists found that there are huge quantities of vitamin A receptors on the surface of beta cells known as GPRC5c, according to Medical News Today.

Albert Salehi, the senior researcher of the study from the University of Lund in Sweden, said that when they found that insulin cells have a cell surface expressed receptor for vitamin A, they thought it was significant to determine why and what the aim is of a cell surface receptor interacting with vitamin A mediating a rapid response to vitamin A. The researchers theorized on this study that vitamin A has an important role in the development of beta-cells in the early stages of life and for a proper function during the remaining life.

In the study, the researchers examined the insulin cells from mice and non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic donors. They found that by blocking the vitamin A receptor and challenging the cells with sugar, they discovered that the cells' ability to secrete insulin weakened.

Salehi said that they see a 30 percent reduction. He added that impaired cell survival and insulin secretion are the key causes of type 2 diabetes.

The results were just the same from type 2 diabetic donors. The cells from type 2 diabetes were less capable of insulin secretion than the cells from the people without diabetes, according to Science Daily.

The study indicates that vitamin A deficiency could trigger type 1 diabetes that is caused by the destruction of beta-cells. Salehi said newborn mice need vitamin A to develop their beta cells in a normal way. This could also apply to humans. He further said that children must consume enough vitamin A through their diet. Among the foods that have great sources of vitamin A are beef liver, carrots, kale, sweet potato, broccoli, eggs, spinach, winter squash and butter. 

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