February 22


How Does Lack of Vitamin A Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

By Gabriela

February 22, 2021

Researchers may have found a link between vitamin A and insulin-secreting function. According to them, vitamin A may be a crucial compound for properly regulating insulin secretion and the function of beta cells.

Since the main function of the beta cells is to release and store insulin, this new discovery may pave the way for a new treatment for diabetes. So, fill the fridge with butternut squash, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and more foods that contain vitamin A.

Plus, these foods may even prevent this chronic illness.

Study Findings

According to a Medical News Today published in the Endocrine Journal, researchers from Sweden and the United Kingdom believe that there are large quantities of vitamin A called GPRC5C. These vitamin-A receptors are on the surface of the beta cells.

The researcher’s goal was to find out why the insulin cells had cell-surface expressed receptors that are interacting with vitamin A. Also, they wanted to know their purpose and why they mediated a fast response to the vitamin, said Albert Salehi, the co-author of the study.

By partially blocking the vitamin A receptors in the beta cells of mice, they removed the ability of the vitamin to bind to these cells. As a result, the researchers discovered that their ability to secrete insulin significantly dropped in response to sugar.

Lack of Vitamin A May Ruin Beta Cells

To conclude their findings, researchers tested human beta cells that had no type 2 diabetes. They again blocked the GPRC5C in the beta cells. But, when they applied sugar to the cells, the insulin secretion drastically decreased by a shocking 30%.

So, since impaired insulin secretion may cause this chronic disease, researchers believe that vitamin A deficiency can have the same effects. Therefore, vitamin A may play a crucial role in developing this disease.

Furthermore, vitamin A deficiency can reduce the beta cells’ ability to prevent inflammation and even destroy them. However, for this to happen, a person has to have a significant vitamin A deficiency.

So, to avoid such side effects, it is important that humans and mice take a sufficient amount of this vitamin in their diet from birth.

Vitamin A Foods

When researchers removed vitamin A from healthier mice, they noticed that the mice lost a lot of beta cells. As a result, their bodies produced less and less insulin and were prone to unbalanced blood glucose levels.

However, when the researchers restored their vitamin A and implemented diets that contained plenty of this vitamin, the insulin and beta cell production increased steadily. In the end, their blood glucose levels stabilized.

To stabilize the blood glucose levels, researchers fed the mice a vitamin A-rich diet. Therefore, they suggest that we too consume plenty of vitamin A if we want to reduce the chance of developing the disease.

Here is a list of some of the best foods that contain a lot of vitamin A:

  • Beef Liver;
  • Carrots;
  • Sweet potato;
  • Kale;
  • Spinach;
  • Apricots;
  • Broccoli;
  • Butter;
  • Eggs;
  • Winter squash.

Of course, other foods also contain this mineral. So, make sure to consume them as well. Nevertheless, the results of this study made it clearer for us to understand the link between chronic illness and vitamin A.

But, it is still not clear enough if it has the same role in diabetes throughout adulthood.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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