Two recent Canadian studies, one from Montreal and the other from Edmonton, reported on different vital functions of vitamin A.
The University of Montreal study found that vitamin A has a positive impact in reducing obesity and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. Researchers used a vitamin A supplement (retinoic acid derived from retinol) in diabetic animals. They discovered that the animals taking vitamin A had lower blood glucose levels and lost weight even though they ate the same amount of food as the others. The supplement was found to reduce fat cell size. It also improved energy metabolism, and protected the heart by reducing “cardiac fibrosis,” or thickening of the heart valves.
The University of Alberta study states that chronic alcohol consumption reduces the amount of vitamin A in the liver, which correlates with the severity of liver disease. Drinking alcohol daily also influences whole-body amounts of vitamin A. Alcohol actually breaks down vitamin A within the liver, and it alters expression of genes and proteins important for vitamin A metabolism in the body.
These two studies show that it may especially important to supplement with vitamin A if you’re diabetic or drink alcohol daily. Eat vegetables like kale, sweet potatoes, spinach and carrots to get vitamin A. (Daniel-Constantin Manolescu et al. “Positive impact of retinoid/vitamin A in obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes,” Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec & Robin Clugston et al., “Vitamin A and alcoholic liver disease: what’s the link?” Department of Physiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, delivered at the Canadian Nutrition Society: Scientific Abstracts from the 8th Annual Scientific Meeting http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdf/10.1139/apnm-2017-0134)