Deficiency in Vitamin A Could Be Associated With Type 2 Diabetes

Researchers have continued to look into the pathways that lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes. The latest study from Weill Cornell Medical College has suggested that Type 2 diabetes could be the result of a deficiency in vitamin A. Vitamin A is needed for the development of cells into beta cells within the pancreas. Beta cells are responsible for producing the hormone insulin.


The researchers looked at mice that had a vitamin A deficiency. They found that the death of beta cells in the mice was due to a lack of vitamin A. The findings of the study were published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry on December 1, 2014. The findings may shed light on the cause of Type 2 diabetes.


The majority of Type 2 diabetes patients are insulin resistant. In advanced cases of diabetes, there is often a lack of beta cells to produce insulin.


In the study the researchers achieved a vitamin A deficiency by taking the vitamin A out of the rodents’ diet. The beta cells began to decline in large numbers. This resulted in a large increase in blood glucose levels and decreased levels of insulin. The researchers then added vitamin A back to the rodents’ diet and the beta cell die-off rate reversed. This lead to a higher production of insulin and the return of normal blood glucose levels.


While the findings are not yet conclusive as the study will need to be repeated in humans, more research needs to be done on the effects of vitamin A on diabetes. There are also questions as to whether there is a metabolic defect that can result in diabetes or if the lack of vitamin A is due to an insufficient diet.

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