Major breakthrough in understanding vitamin balance in the body

Monday 25 September 2023

A newly published study led by Associate Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Pathophysiology Dr Peter Imoesi found evidence that the hypothalamus may be responsible for controlling the vitamin A levels in the body. Published in iScience on 18 August, the article relates to work conducted by Dr Imoesi while at the University of Aberdeen’s School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition. 

As vitamin regulation was previously thought to be the duty of other organs, including the liver and kidneys, this is the first time researchers have identified a role for the brain in this process. The discovery could have implications for the diagnosis and treatment of vitamin-related diseases from anaemia to infertility.

Reflecting on the findings, Dr Imoesi said: “What we found is radically new. Our results suggest that vitamin A imbalance may not be simply due to irregular intake but that an abnormality in hypothalamic function due to disease or inflammation may lead to inadequate supply of vitamin A to the body. Understanding the regulation of vitamin A balance in the body is important given that both deficiency and excess are detrimental to human health. Worldwide, an estimated 250 million people are marginally deficient of vitamin A, while 140 million pre-school children and around 7.2 million pregnant women are believed to be vitamin A deficient.”

Read the full press release issued by the University of Aberdeen.

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