Categories: Health & Fitness

Vitamin K: researchers show how it helps prevent diabetes

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This is, according to the authors of this new study, a first in 15 years of fundamental research. In a new study, published in the journal Cell Reports (Source 1), researchers from the University of Montreal (Canada) have finally managed to identify the mechanisms explaining how vitamin K helps prevent diabetes. A discovery that could lead to new therapeutic approaches to fight type 2 diabetes.

A micronutrient known for its key role in blood clotting, particularly in gamma-carboxylation (an enzymatic reaction essential to the process), vitamin K has been suspected for years of playing a role in many other body functions. Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between low levels of vitamin K and an increased risk of diabeteswithout knowing why.

Here, scientists first observed that the enzymes involved in gamma-carboxylation, and therefore in the utilization of vitamin K, were present in large quantities in pancreatic beta cells, the very ones that produce insulin, responsible for controlling glycemia (blood sugar levels).

A chain reaction to the heart of the pancreas

Diabetes is known to be caused by a reduction in the number of beta cells or their inability to produce enough insulin, hence our keen interest in this new discovery.”, commented Mathieu Ferron, researcher in molecular biology and co-author of the study, in a press release (Source 2). “In order to elucidate the cellular mechanism by which vitamin K maintains beta cell function, it was essential to determine which protein was targeted by gamma-carboxylation in these cells.“, he added.

The team succeeded in identifying a protein, called ERGP, which plays an important role in maintaining physiological levels (or normal) calcium in the beta cells of the pancreas, which prevents the risk of disruption of their insulin secretion. Clearly, by a chain mechanism, vitamin K is essential for the beta cells of the pancreas to fulfill their secretory function, via this protein.

The good news is that vitamin Keasily obtained through food, provided you like green vegetables. It is present in cabbage, spinach, chard, broccoli, lettuce, asparagus, parsley, green beans or kiwi. According to the National Health Security Agency, the adequate intake for an adult (male or female) is 79 µg/dknowing that half a cup of boiled spinach makes it possible more than 400 mcg.

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