Activity of an iron-transport protein has been identified as potentially playing a part in the destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Researchers have previously noted a connection between diabetes risk and surplus iron in the body in human populations. In this study, researcher’s at the University of Copenhagen and Novo Nordisk A/S studied mice which were engineered to lack the iron-transport protein and found these mice to be protected against the development of diabetes.
The researchers note the importance of iron in the body, including being vital in the production of red blood cells but note that iron is also able to promote creation of oxygen radicals which can be toxic to the body.
Lead researcher Professor Thomas Mandrup-Poulsen believes that the presence of the iron-transport proteins may be involved in fine tuning of insulin production during periods of stress or fever and has relevance to people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
However, research is at an early stage and has only been clinically studied in mice so the researchers note that more research is needed until any change in supplement usage is advised or drug treatments could be developed.

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