Vitamin A Deficiency May Play A Role in Type 2 Diabetes

A lack of Vitamin A, which plays a significant role in immunity, may be linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, according to recent research from Weill Cornell Medical College.

Using mice models, researchers found that lack of vitamin A caused a die-off in beta cells - the cells responsible for producing insulin.

The rodents subsequently suffered lower insulin levels and increases in blood sugar.

"How the removal of vitamin A causes the death of the beta cells that make insulin in the pancreas is an important question we want to answer," senior author Dr. Lorraine Gudas said in a press release. "These beta cells in the pancreas are exquisitely sensitive to the dietary removal of vitamin A. No one has found that before."

Drugs can't fix the problem

Since medication can't address this type of nutritional deficiency, first author Dr. Steven Trasino said the current research is important.

Scientists are still unclear on whether vitamin A deficiency is caused by diet or metabolic problems, and also whether it's something that can be treated with natural or synthetic versions of the vitamin.

"Our study sets the platform to take these studies further into pre-clinical and clinical settings," Dr. Trasino said.

Source: Weill Cornell

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