Vitamin D May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels, Weight Via The Brain

shutterstock_123638989Researchers from Baylor College and the University of Cincinnati have conducted a study regarding vitamin D and how it may play a role in obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study suggests that the said vitamin may help lower a person’s weight as well as blood glucose levels by working through the brain. The findings were recently presented in a joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society called ICE/ENDO 2014 held in Chicago.

Stephanie Sisley, MD., assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and a principal investigator of the study says, “Vitamin D deficiency occurs often in obese people and in patients with Type 2 diabetes, yet no one understands if it contributes to these diseases. Our results suggest that vitamin D may play a role in the onset of both obesity and Type 2 diabetes by its action in the brain.”

Sisley and her research partners from the University of Cincinnati delivered vitamin D directly into the hypothalamus of obese rats. They hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates the body’s weight and blood glucose levels. The researchers administered a potent form of vitamin D directly into the brain of the male rats used in the study by way of a thin tube surgically inserted into the brain and within the area of the hypothalamus. The rats then recovered from their presurgery body weight. Placement of the inserted tube to the brain was also verified to be correct.

The rats were then placed on fasting for a period of four hours in order to get a measurement of their fasting blood sugar levels. Another group of 12 rats were then given vitamin D in dissolved form in a solution acting as a way to deliver drugs. There was another group of 14 rats, matched in terms of body weight with the first group and were administered only the solution that acted as the vehicle for drug delivery, serving as the study controls. After an hour, all the rats took a glucose tolerance test by injecting dextrose into their abdomen and their blood sugar levels measured.

The results indicate that the animals administered with vitamin D showed improved glucose tolerance, which is the ability of the body to respond to sugar. A separate experiment also showed that the treated rats experienced improved insulin sensitivity. Poor insulin sensitivity, which is called insulin resistance is one of the factors for high blood sugar levels. The study indicated that the vitamin D in the brain also help lower the glucose production by the liver.

In still another experiment, the researchers gave three rats with vitamin D and another four rats given only the drug delivery solution without the vitamin for a period of four weeks. The researchers observed decreased food intake as well as weight among rats that received vitamin D as compared to the control group. The treated rats ate three times less and lost 24 percent of their body weight. None of the control group of rats lost weight.

Sisley added, “Vitamin D is never going to be the silver bullet for weight loss, but it may work in combination with strategies we know work, like diet and exercise.” She also said that further studies may be needed to understand the role that vitamin D plays on obesity and blood glucose level control.

Source: News Wise


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