Reduced Stem Cell/Vitamin A Deficiency

Lack of a Vitamin A metabolite causes a loss of important stem cells according to new research published in Cell. This metabolite known as retinoic acid is essential in the process of activating and inactivating stem cells to regenerate cells. Specialized cells in the skin, gut, or blood have a short lifespan and require steady replenishment from adult stem cells that divide continuously. In 2008 it was discovered that a group of special stem cells in the bone marrow remain dormant most of the time and only become active to fight bacteria or viruses, durinmg heavy vlood loss, or as a result of chemotherapy. When their work is done these most potent stem cells return to dormancy. Current researchers found the mechanism that activate or deactive stem cells and that is the retinoic acid , a metabolite of vitamin A, that is crucial to the activation-deactivation process.

In the mice studies they found that stem cells are lost as a reservoir when they lack retinoic acid. Feeding the mice a diet deficient in vitamin A caused a loss of stem cells. This study added to those previously that showed vitamin A deficiencies impaired the immune system.

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