January 30, 2013

Carrots May Protect Against T2D


carrotsColorful fruits and vegetables are being touted for another health benefit important for tens of millions of Americans.

A study out of Stamford University School of Medicine shows beta carotene may lower a person’s risk for Type¬† 2 diabetes

The body converts beta carotene to a close cousin of vitamin A. One of the most common forms of vitamin A in the American diet is gamma tocopherol, which may increase the risk of diabetes.

Investigators analyzed blood levels of over 3,000 subjects with genetic predisposition for developing T2D. There was an inverse correlation in blood samples between beta carotene levels and T2D risk.

Subjects in the data pool were also shown to have an empirically high association of gamma tocopherol with risk for developing T2D. In the world of vitamin A, beta carotene is good and gamma tocopherol is bad.

Both beta carotene and gamma tocopherol interact with the same gene. One protects against the development of T2D, while the other may promote the development. The study focused on the effects of beta carotene, not gamma tocopherol.

The study authors caution that the presence of gamma tocopherol “showed no deleterious interaction with the disposing gene variant in the study”. Most importantly, it never hurts to eat fruits and vegetables with orange and red colors. This study suggests it may help.

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