MONTREAL, June 16 (UPI) -- There's good news for the millions of people suffering from type 2 diabetes: researchers in Canada have recently demonstrated the potential of retinoic acid, a derivative of Vitamin A, in treating the disease and preventing its cardiovascular consequences.
Rates of both type 1 and 2 diabetes have been increasing in the U.S. and elsewhere over the last decade, rising to epidemic-like proportions. Health officials have never been more anxious for medical breakthrough.
Now, researchers at the University of Montreal and CHUM Research Centre may have found one.
"In obese and insulin resistant mice, retinoic acid reduces the risk of cardiac apoptosis, stimulates the expression of cardio-protective genes reduced by the disease, and protects against the accumulation of collagen in the cardiac muscle, thus avoiding the occurrence of fibrosis and possible associated future complications," explained lead researcher Daniel-Constantin Manolescu.
"Blood glucose, insulin resistance, body weight, and adipocyte size were significantly decreased in treated animals," added Manolescu.
"Our research identifies new metabolic effects of retinoids and may lead to anti-obesity and anti-diabetic medicines," confirmed co-author of the new research, Dr. Jean-Louis Chiasson.
Type 2 diabetes, in which the body still makes insulin but is unable to use it properly, is the most common kind of diabetes; it is also the type most directly related to obesity.
The study was published earlier this year in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, and the two researchers presented their findings earlier this month at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Nutrition Society in Saint John's, Newfoundland.