The Journal of Biological Chemistry in a new study has reported a possible relationship between vitamin A deficiency and the onset of type 2 diabetes. Researchers think there could be new treatments for diabetes as a result of the findings.
What Does Vitamin A Do for the Body?
Among other things, vitamin A aids our immune system as it fights infections. It also contributes to cell growth and is important to vision health. The deficiency’s effect on beta cells is now thought to contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
What Is Diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin is used by the body to take the sugar or glucose from food into cells in the body where it is used for energy.
People with diabetes are insulin resistant. This means some of the cells in their bodies have a decreased ability to respond to insulin. The body will try to stabilize the blood sugar, or glucose, by producing more insulin. Over time this results in too much insulin in the blood. This condition, called hyperinsulinemia, can lead to other problems, such as difficulty using fat stored in the cells for energy.
If the condition persists, eventually the pancreas is unable to continue producing insulin. This is when blood glucose begins to rise more, signaling the march towards Type 2 diabetes. So, initially, the body’s insulin is less effective, and then the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, and it must be provided through medication.
What Other Problems Are Associated with Insulin Resistance?
In addition to weight gain, insulin resistance is associated with:
- Abdominal obesity
- Low HDL (good cholesterol)
- High triglycerides
- High blood pressure
Together, these conditions are called “metabolic syndrome,” and this is a risk factor for both heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
What Are the Risk Factors Signaling Insulin Resistance and/or Diabetes?
- Overweight, especially carrying excess weight in the belly
- Having any of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome
- Fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dl signals prediabetes
- Fasting blood glucose of 126 mg/dl signals diabetes
What Can You Do to Decrease the Risk?
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 95% of all cases diagnosed in the United States, as reported by the American Diabetes Association. That amounts to 29 million people suffering from the disease. These numbers are sobering.
Certainly, maintaining a healthy weight and performing regular exercise will help to decrease the risk of having metabolic syndrome or diabetes. However, genetics and age can play a part, with one study showing that 44 percent of those in the 60 and over age group fit the parameters for full metabolic syndrome.
Schedule an Exam with Your Orange County Urgent Care Center
If you are concerned about diabetes or any other condition, your Costa Mesa medical center can help. There’s no need to worry about sitting for hours in a waiting room. Walk into our Costa Mesa care clinic, and we’ll get you in and out as soon as possible, so you can continue with your day.
If you’d like to learn more about what happens during a physical, and what types of physicals we offer, please call us at 949-548-8400, or stop by our Costa Mesa office.