Aug 20, 2017 | Updated: 10:39 AM EDT

Vitamin A Deficiency Could Damage Beta Cells Insulin Secretion Leading To Type 2 Diabetes

Jun 16, 2017 12:18 PM EDT

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Diabetes cases reach 422 million as poorer countries see steep rises
A customer is buying Vitamin A supplements due to the said vitamin deficiency.
(Photo : Getty Images/ Justin Sullivan)

Vitamin A plays an important role in the human body as it helps in the formation and maintenance of healthy skeletal and soft tissues, teeth, skin, and mucous membranes. It also has another term, "Retinol," that produces pigments in the eyes' retina promoting good vision even in dim light.

Vitamin A deficiency could weaken the immune system and destroy the function of the Beta Cells that store insulin in the body. It is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds consisting of retinol, retinoic acid, and plenty of provitamin carotenoids, mostly Beta Carotene acting as an antioxidant, protecting the cells from free radicals.

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A team of scientists has a study that connects the onset of diabetes due to Vitamin A deficiency and considers a new approach basing on what the results show. 29 million Americans suffer from the condition from which an estimated 95% have Type 2 diabetes. This ailment arises when Beta cells no longer produce the hormone insulin which is responsible for the regulation of blood sugar in the body. The remaining five percent Type 1 diabetes statistic is what happens when the destruction of beta cells are complete and the body could no longer produce insulin, Medical News Today reported.

Researchers from the United Kingdom and Sweden just discovered the considerable presence of Vitamin A receptors in Beta cells surfaces they call as GPRC5C, says study co-author Dr. Albert Salehi of the University of Lund in Sweden. The team disabled the function of these surface receptors that mediates the rapid absorption of Vitamin A with the beta cells. The result is the incapacity of the surface receptors to bond with Vitamin A in response to sugar resulting in its deficiency. The data is in a report in the Endocrine Journal.

In an experiment by scientists dating back in 2015, Weill Cornell Medicine reported that they were able to identify that Vitamin A deficiency is vital when they removed it from lab mice. The absence of Vitamin A caused the demise of beta cells from the rodent hindering insulin production and the shooting up of blood sugar levels.

Present scientists are now in the search for molecules that could boost the mediating receptors between Vitamin A and Beta cells. The GPRC5C offers new approaches in the treatment of regulating glucose in the blood and introduce new therapeutic responses for diabetes.


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