New research suggests a derivative of Vitamin A – retinoic acid – may have the potential to treat type 2 diabetes and protect against related complications.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Montreal and CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM) in Canada, found that retinoic acid has a number of anti-diabetic effects in obese and insulin resistant mice.
“Retinoic acid reduces the risk of cardiac apoptosis [the process of programmed cell death], stimulates the expression of cardio-protective genes reduced by the disease, and protects against the accumulation of collagen in the cardiac muscle, thus avoiding the occurrence of fibrosis and possible associated future complications,” Daniel-Constantin Manolescu, the study’s first author, explained.
He added that this led to significant reductions in a number of type 2 diabetes risk factors – blood glucose, insulin resistance, body weight and body fat, including visceral fat – in retinoic acid treated animals who had the same dietary intake and physical activity as non-treated mice.
The findings follow on from previous research conducted by Manolescu and colleagues on the effects of retinoic acid on insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity, which found that the Vitamin A derivative increases insulin sensitivity in diabetic mice.
The latest findings were presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Nutrition Society on June 6 2014 and published in the April 30 issue of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

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