Monday, January 14, 2008

Vitamin E May Help Reduce Diabetes Risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A daily dose of vitamin E may help delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people at high risk of the disease, preliminary research suggests.

Researchers in New Zealand found that high-dose vitamin E appeared to temporarily improve insulin resistance -- a precursor to type 2 diabetes -- among 41 overweight adults.

"These results suggest that vitamin E could have a role to play in delaying the , in at-risk individuals," Dr. Patrick J. Manning and colleagues at the University of Otago in Dunedin report in the journal Diabetes Care.

The researchers found that at both the three- and six-month marks, plasma peroxides, which are markers of oxidative stress, had fallen in the vitamin E group. After three months, blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity had also improved, but the gains did not remain through the sixth month.

On the other hand, the researchers found, there was a lasting decline in blood levels of alanine transferase liver enzymes, elevations of which have been tied to a heightened diabetes risk. The liver, the authors note, plays a key role in sugar and insulin metabolism, and is the main site of insulin clearance from the blood.

According to Manning's team, vitamin E may boost insulin sensitivity and decrease diabetes risk in a number of ways, including by reducing oxidative stress to cells and by improving liver function

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, September 2004.

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