Vitamin D Deficiency and Diabetes
New research suggests that people with diabetes may face an increased risk of heart disease if you are deficient in vitamin D.
An article in Science News cites a study by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, indicating that macrophages, immune cells that normally fight heart disease by absorbing LDL cholesterol, can do its job too well in cases of deficiency of vitamin D.
Instead of helping to prevent heart disease in these patients, macrophages may actually contribute to their occurrence.
The endocrinologist Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi and colleagues analyzed blood samples from 76 obese people, with an average age of 55 years who had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and low levels of vitamin D.
From these samples, the researchers cultured macrophages and immune cells exposed to LDL cholesterol (the bad guy). The researchers found that macrophages from type 2 diabetes patients showed a greater tendency to absorb excessive amounts of LDL cholesterol when the body had vitamin D deficiency compared to the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the macrophages in an organism with an amount vitamin D normal.
This makes the transformed macrophage cholesterol cholesterol-filled cells are the building blocks of arterial plaque.
Previous research has suggested that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the risk of heart disease, but this is the first test of the cellular mechanisms that actually increase the risk.
The cells in cholesterol are part of the trash that builds up inside blood vessels, forming a fibrous cap of plaque. When the plaque ruptures, it can form a blood clot and cause a stroke or heart attack.
The study found that nondiabetics showed much less of this effect than non-diabetics.
Further research by the same group of scientists has shed light on the reason for these results. In people with diabetes, vitamin D helps to reduce stress on the endoplasmic reticulum that controls many cellular functions.
Reduce stress causes macrophages absorb LDL cholesterol to a lesser extent. In cases of vitamin D deficiency, the reduction of tension does not occur and macrophages absorb LDL cholesterol by as much as they should. Stress also contributes to inflammation, which releases proteins that degrade the plate and can cause problems.
Although results are preliminary and more research is conducted on this issue in the future, it seems that people with diabetes should pay attention to their levels of vitamin D.