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Vitamin D Therapy May Help Diabetes Treatment, Study Shows

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Scientists have discovered that vitamin D therapy may help in the treatment of diabetes. Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, may be combined with a newly identified compound to bring glucose levels back to normal in mouse models.  ( Charly Triballeau | AFP /Getty Images )

Vitamin D therapy may help in the treatment of diabetes, according to the findings of a new study that was published in the Cell journal.

Vitamin D, which is sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin, provides various health benefits such as protecting you from colds and flu. However, the latest research shows that vitamin D may also help in the fight against diabetes.

Vitamin D Good For You Against Diabetes

Researchers from the Salk Institute wrote in the published study that one of the primary causes in the progression of type 2 diabetes is the dysfunction of beta cells in the pancreas. When these beta cells stop working, the body becomes unable to create insulin to control a person's blood sugar, allowing glucose levels to increase to dangerous levels.

However, the scientists discovered that vitamin D therapy is capable of treating the damaged beta cells. Using beta cells that were created from embryonic stem cells, the researchers identified a compound named iBRD9 that worked with vitamin D to help the recovery of the beta cells.

In tests on a mouse model of diabetes, the vitamin D therapy brought glucose back to normal levels in the animal subjects. The combination of the compound with vitamin D triggered the anti-inflammatory function of the beta cells' genes, helping them survive.

The researchers said that no side effects were observed on the mice that received the compound. However, further testing is required before clinical trials on humans can begin.

Vitamin D has previously been linked with diabetes when epidemiologists found that the lack of vitamin D gave healthy people a higher risk for diabetes. Vitamin D, which received its name as the sunshine vitamin because it is created in our skin when exposed to direct sunlight, also helps keep our bones healthy and aids in calcium and phosphorus absorption.

Vitamin D Therapy Benefits Also Linked To Cancer

The findings on vitamin D therapy have clear implications on the development of new treatment for diabetes. However, according to coauthor Ruth Yu, the research may also help in the treatment of other diseases where boosting the effect of vitamin D is needed. One such example on where vitamin D therapy can also help is against pancreatic cancer.

Similar to diabetes, lower levels of vitamin D has also previously been linked to a higher risk of cancer. Researchers have discovered that vitamin D reduces the risk of diseases such as liver cancer and breast cancer.

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