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Vitamin D vs. Diabetes

Vitamin D vs Diabetes

With diabetes on it’s meteoric rise, new innovations are being discovered to help quell it’s rising numbers.  New research is looking into vitamin D as a possible treatment option for the now 30 million people living with type 2 diabetes in the U.S.  Obesity is rising as well, raising type 2 diabetes risk factors that in turn ends up causing deficient beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas.  These inadequate beta cells produce little or no insulin at all, causing glucose to build up in the blood damaging other cells and muscle tissues.  This new study looks for a new way to protect these beta cells using vitamin D compounds slowing the development of diabetes.

Vitamin D is produced by the skin as a reaction to sunlight exposure.  In the past, connections have been discovered between low vitamin D levels and risk of diabetes, although the details of how exactly they correlate has eluded researchers for some time.  This is partly due to the wide range of uses the body has for vitamin D, including serving as an inflammation reducer which was a critical factor for this study.

The Research

The study required the creation of beta cells utilizing embryonic stem cells to test the effects of different compounds on them.  One compound in particular iBRD9, when combined with vitamin D molecules increased operations of vitamin D receptors.  This in turn protected beta cells needed for proper insulin production thus bringing glucose levels back down to normal in mouse test subjects.  Correlations of high vitamin D in the blood has been found to lower risk of diabetes but it takes more than just vitamin D alone.  The key is in the way genes are decoded for the production of proteins.  When iBRD9 is introduced it causes the decoding of genes with the “protective effect” on beta cells to be decoded at a faster rate, thus protecting beta cells resulting in more efficient insulin production.  This “protection” is actually a reduction in inflammation of beta cells for better survival under strenuous conditions in the body.

The Conclusion

While the evidence is emerging for future possibilities of drugs that boost the effect of vitamin D on diabetics and pancreatic cancer patients, further research is still in order.  While no side-effects were observed on test mice, it must further be tested for safety on humans.

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