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Diabetes Health

The Advantages of Vitamin A

This new feature highlights the importance of vitamin A.

Vitamin A explained

Vitamin A:

  • is a fat-soluble vitamin. A diet rich in good fats helps store any fat soluble vitamin in the body for longer periods of time.
  • has strong antioxidant properties and helps improve immunity to help fight diseases better.
  • is crucial in building strong teeth and bones.
  • helps delay Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, heart diseases and age-related muscular degeneration problems.
  • has a pleiotropic (producing or having multiple effects from a single gene) role in cell regulation through its action on gene regulation.

Sources of vitamin A

High level of vitamin A is found in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, kale, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, red bell peppers, peas, apricots, broccoli and cantaloupe.

Vitamin A is also found in animal livers (turkey, lamb, chicken, pork), seafood such as herring, mackerel, clams, tuna, salmon and oysters, cod liver oil and eggs.

Vitamin A is also found in milk, yogurt, butter and cheese.

5 points linking vitamin A to Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the beta cells found in the pancreas stop producing insulin as they are destroyed. Type 2 Diabetes occurs when there is an impaired insulin secretion in the body. A study reported in the Endocrine Journal showed that there are large quantities of vitamin A receptors on the surface of beta cells, called GPRC5C.

  • Vitamin A deficiency may destroy insulin producing beta cells.
  • Lack of vitamin A lowers the beta cells’ ability to fight inflammation.
  • Complete deficiency of vitamin A causes the beta cells to die.
  • Pancreatic beta cells are destroyed by T cells of the immune system triggering Type 1 Diabetes. Vitamin A can modulate T-cell mediated immunity.
  • Loss of endocrine mass in Type 2 Diabetes involves proteins regulated by vitamin A during pancreatic development.

If you have Diabetes then carotenoids found in vitamin A can help prevent:

  • diabetic retinopathy (a condition which leads to loss of eyesight and fuzzy vision).
  • the onset of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women with Type 1 Diabetes. Pre-eclampsia occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy and causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine. This condition can lead to serious complications in the mother such as stroke and liver rupture.

Too many cooks do indeed spoil the broth

High quantities of vitamin A may cause blurry vision, trouble with coordination, headache, vomiting, dizziness and nausea. Too much vitamin A stored in the body may cause birth defects, liver problems, osteoporosis and abnormalities of the central nervous system.

Note: Consult your doctor and dietician regarding safe levels of vitamin A for you before starting or modifying vitamin A dosage.

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