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Vitamin A Deficiency Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

Vitamin A
Joelle Reizes - March 18, 2015

Type 2 diabetes affects over 29 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association, and it accounts for almost 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the United States.

Type 2 diabetes develops when insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when any insulin that is produced, fails to work properly.

Although a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medication are often used to treat type 2 diabetes, a new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found a potential link between vitamin A deficiency and the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A strengthens immunity against infections and aids in the growth of cells, along with helping maintain and improve vision. Vitamin A also boosts beta cell activity. Beta cells produce and secrete insulin, a hormone that regulates levels of glucose in the blood. Research found, significant beta cell loss, resulted in the reduction of insulin production and increased blood glucose levels – key factors involved in development of type 2 diabetes. It is for this reason Dr. Lorraine Gudas, the primary author in the recent study, suggests a lack of the vitamin may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. In conclusion, make sure to eat foods high in vitamin A so you do not become vitamin A deficient!

Foods High in Vitamin A

Good sources of vitamin A include cheese, eggs, yogurt, and liver. You can also make sure you have enough vitamin A by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet. Add a few of these foods to your next grocery list:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Winter Squash
  • Swiss Chard

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the goal is always prevention. With diabetes affecting more than 26 million Americans and quickly growing, it’s more important than ever to know your personal risk factors:

  • Family History
  • Race (African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Asian Americans are at an increased risk)
  • Being Overweight
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal fasting glucose screening results

If you have any of these risk factors, or are above the age of 45, it is recommended that you have a blood glucose screening once every three years.

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