Vitamin A may treat obesity, type 2 diabetes

WFMCwShad&Star_175Most of us have heard that vitamin A  (think carrots) is essential for vision, boosting the immune system, gene function and skin health. In fact, vitamin A deficiency has long been known as a leading cause of  macular degeneration and other vision problems.

But now, new animal studies conducted by researchers at the University of Montreal and CHUM Research Center have indicated that a concentrated form of vitamin A may be an exciting natural treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes, both of which are affecting an alarming and growing number of people around the world. The researchers say that retinoic acid (RA), a derivative of vitamin A, shows great promise as a potential treatment for people already suffering from those crippling conditions and their cardiovascular complications.

“In obese and insulin-resistant mice, retinoic acid reduces risk of cardiac apoptosis (process of programmed cell death), stimulates expression of cardio-protective genes reduced by the disease and protects against accumulation of collogen in the cardiac muscles, thus avoiding occurence of fibrosis and possible associated future complications,” said 1st author Daniel-Constantin Manolescu.

Previous studies have examined the bioactive nutrient value of vitamin A, and this most recent work is a strong confirmation that, in animals at least, retinoic acid induces normalization of blood glucose and reduction of obesity, said researcher Dr. Jean-Louis Chiasson.

“It is an important contribution to understanding RA action on the liver, fat, muscles, and the heart, energy metabolism, fatty acid oxidation and insulin resistance. Our research identifies new metabolic effects of retinoids, and may lead to anti-obesity and anti-diabetic medicines.”

But you don’t have to wait for medicines. Remember there are already natural whole food vitamin A supplements and many good food sources of vitamin A. Eat some of them every day if you want to avoid vitamin A deficiency. Here are the top ones, in order of vitamin A density: sweet potatoes, carrots, dark, leafy greens, butternut squash, Romaine lettuce, dried apricots, cantaloupe, sweet red peppers, tuna and mangoes.



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