A new scientific discovery from the Université de Montréal and the Montreal Clinical Research Institute has given us new insight into diabetes, a disease that affects one in eleven people worldwide.
This research shows that vitamin K may play an important role in fighting type 2 diabetes, a common form of the disease.
More than just blood clotting
Vitamin K is generally considered important for blood clotting. Technically, it’s involved in something called “gamma-carboxylation,” a chemical process essential for blood clotting.
However, previous research suggests that vitamin K could do much more. Some studies have shown that people who don’t get enough vitamin K may be more likely to develop diabetes.
However, until now nobody really knew how vitamin K can help protect against the disease.
A great discovery in tiny cells
Mathieu Ferron, the lead researcher, and his team found something exciting in the pancreas, an organ that plays a major role in diabetes.
In the pancreas there are cells called “beta cells” that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps keep our blood sugar levels under control.
When you have diabetes, these cells either don’t produce enough insulin or produce insulin that your body can’t use well.
The scientists found that these pancreatic beta cells have many enzymes needed for the aforementioned gamma-carboxylation process.
This is interesting because problems with beta cells are a common cause of diabetes.
The role of a newly discovered protein
Now it’s getting really exciting: The researchers found a new protein in these beta cells that depends on vitamin K for its function.
They called it ERGP. This protein helps keep calcium levels in cells balanced, which is essential for the proper production of insulin.
When vitamin K does its gamma carboxylation, it helps this new ERGP protein do its job better.
This is the first new protein that relies on vitamin K in 15 years. It opens up a whole new field of research and could be of great importance for understanding and treating diabetes.
A future with better diabetes treatment?
This groundbreaking discovery could change the way we think about and treat diabetes. It also underscores that vitamin K isn’t just a one-trick product; It plays a role in our health that we are only just beginning to understand.
This is a big deal for a disease as common as diabetes and could lead to new treatments in the future.
So this research makes a strong case for re-examining vitamin K, not only as something that helps blood to clot, but also as a potential weapon in the fight against one of the world’s most prevalent health problems.
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