There are people who develop diabetes, and there are those who are predisposed to have it. Previous data have shown that up to 90 genetic changes may increase the risk of the disease, but according to a study featured on TIME, those who have the inclination to get it may reduce its symptoms by consuming carrots.
Researchers from Stanford University worked with data from type 2 diabetes patients--or those who can't produce enough insulin to process glucose--to see which of the common factors associated to the disease can have the greatest effect. They then compared these factors with 18 different genetic variants to see if there are indeed certain DNA patterns that can be singled out.
They found that genetic changes are not the only causes of the increase of type 2 diabetes risk--the presence or absence of certain nutrients also play a huge part in its development. The gene variant SLC30A4, which is a protein that triggers the pancreas to produce insulin, is largely affected by the presence of beta carotene, a nutrient commonly found in carrots. Beta carotene seemingly improves the efficiency of SLC30A4, which in turn increases the production of insulin.
Although more studies need to be conducted in order to include other environmental factors, this is a ray of light for those who have histories of type 2 diabetes in their families. Of course, carrot-munching isn't enough--it needs to be compensated with the proper diet and a healthy lifestyle.
"It’s not easy to lose weight and to change your appetite and what we eat, but it’s a whole lot easier than changing your DNA, study author Dr. Atul Butte, an associate professor of systems medicine in pediatrics at Stanford, concludes.
(Photo by Kari Sullivan via Flickr Creative Commons)