Vitamin D may help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes

Vitamin D may help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes

Vitamin D may help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes, according to research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Because low vitamin D levels are associated with diabetes and heart disease, we looked at the connections between vitamin D, immune function, and these disease states,” explains senior author Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi.

The research team found that when they engineered mice to lack the vitamin D receptor in cells, the animals accumulated plaque in their arteries and developed symptoms of diabetes.

Inactivation of the macrophage vitamin D receptor promotes inflammation of the liver and of the artery walls. It also increases the ability of blood monocytes to adhere and migrate into the vessel wall, where they deposit cholesterol and secrete inflammatory mediators to cause diabetes and heart disease,” explains Dr. Bernal-Mizrachi. “This implies that vitamin D will reduce these properties in immune cells to decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of cardiometabolic disease.”

The investigators found that when they performed a bone marrow transplant in the mice to give them vitamin D, their insulin sensitivity was improved and reduced arterial plaque buildup.

The results of this study show that vitamin D deficiency can cause chronic inflammation and serious health symptoms.

Our findings provide further mechanistic foundation for multiple interventional trials, including our own, to evaluate the effects of vitamin D on cardiometabolic disease,” says Bernal-Mizrachi. “In addition, the identification of monocyte cholesterol transport as a mechanism for atherosclerosis in our animal model opens up a new area of research that could identify novel therapies for heart disease.”

Some of the best ways to get the required amount of vitamin D is through eating fatty fish like salmon, and other foods like cod liver oil, eggs, oranges, mushrooms and organic cereals.

The study showing that vitamin D may help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes was published in the journal Cell Reports.

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REFERENCES:
1. “Vitamin D Helps Immune Cells Prevent Atherosclerosis and Diabetes.” EurekAlert! Cell Press, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.
2. “Deletion of Macrophage Vitamin D Receptor Promotes Insulin Resistance and Monocyte Cholesterol Transport to Accelerate Atherosclerosis in Mice.” Cell Reports. Cell Reports, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.
3. “12 Ways to Get Your Daily Vitamin D.” Health.com. Health.com, n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

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