Vitamin A and High-fat Diet Increases Risk for Diabetes

New research presented at the American Physiological Society annual meeting says that normal levels of vitamin A in a high-fat diet can increase risks for obesity and diabetes. The study found that the mixture affects the expression of liver genes associated with glucose and fat metabolism.

For the study, researchers fed two groups of rats a high-fat diet for eight weeks. One group consumed normal amounts of vitamin A and other were deficient. Measuring body mass, the researchers found that at six weeks, the vitamin A deficient group was significantly slimmer.

The liver protein Cytochrome P450 26A1 is affected by vitamin A.

That gene regulates levels of retinoic acid, a by-product of vitamin A, and is higher in those with sufficient levels of vitamin A. That protein, however, is also involved in the metabolism of fat and cholesterol.

The research team measured gene expression of Cyto P450 26A1 in the experimental rats and found that these were higher in the vitamin A sufficient group. The same group that was fatter after receiving a high-fat diet. The genes affecting glucose control and insulin signaling were also higher in those rats. These are indicators of both potential obesity and diabetes.

These findings are expected to lead to more research into how vitamin A may affect humans. "Our study [implies] that we should be careful about vitamin A," wrote Heqian Kuang, first author of the study.

Source: Sciencedaily.com

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