THURSDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Your morning "cup of Joe"
may do more than deliver the jolt you need to get going -- it may
also help you stave off type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.
But, before you pour yourself a second cup know this: The study
authors said their research was done with cell cultures and there's
no proof yet that coffee has any ability to keep type 2 diabetes at
Past research has suggested a link between coffee and a reduced
risk of type 2 diabetes, and now Chinese researchers behind the new
study think they may know why that may be so. They found three
major compounds in coffee that may provide potentially beneficial
effects: caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and caffeine.
"These findings suggest that the beneficial effects of coffee consumption on type 2 diabetes mellitus may be partly due to the ability of the major coffee components and metabolites to inhibit the toxic aggregation of hIAPP [human islet amyloid polypeptide]," Ling Zheng, professor of cellular biology at Wuhan University in China, and colleagues wrote.
Human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP) is a substance normally
found in the pancreas, according to background information in the
study. Sometimes, however, abnormal protein deposits (toxic
aggregation) arise from hIAPP. These abnormal deposits (amyloid
fibrils) are found in people with type 2 diabetes, the study
The researchers wondered if blocking formation of these deposits
could help prevent or treat type 2 diabetes, the more common form
of the blood sugar disorder. The next step would be to find a
substance that might prevent these deposits.
In 2009, a study published in the
Archives of Internal Medicine reported that people who drank
the most coffee seemed to have the lowest risk of developing type 2
diabetes. That study reported that with each cup of coffee consumed
daily, the risk of type 2 diabetes dropped by 7 percent.
So, the researchers behind the new study conducted laboratory
experiments to see if compounds found in coffee could inhibit the
production of the abnormal protein deposits associated with
Caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and caffeine -- the three most
common components in coffee, the study authors said -- helped
reduce the abnormal protein deposits, but caffeic acid appeared
"Our results suggest that caffeic acid had the greatest effects in the major components of coffee. The rankings for beneficial effects of coffee compounds against the toxic hIAPP aggregation are caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and caffeine," Zheng and study co-author Kun Huang, professor of biological pharmacy at the Huazhong University of Science & Technology in Wuhan, explained in an email interview.
Because decaffeinated coffee contains even higher levels of
caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid than caffeinated coffee, the
beneficial effect may be even stronger for decaffeinated coffee,
The investigators pointed out that this work has only been done
in cells, so it's not clear if this is how coffee might help
prevent diabetes in the body.
A U.S. diabetes expert was guardedly optimistic about the
"Scientifically, this is a very nice paper, but it has its limitations," said Dr. Vivian Fonseca, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association. "This was done in cells, not in animals or people. We also don't know if the [abnormal deposits arising from hIAPP] are the most important thing in the development of type 2 diabetes, or if it's something that develops later."
In addition, Fonseca said, the study that found a link between a
reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and coffee was an epidemiological
study. That means the study couldn't prove cause and effect, only
that there was an association between those two factors. It could
be that people who drink coffee have other habits that lower their
risk of diabetes.
The bottom line, said Fonseca, is it's way too soon to make any
recommendations about drinking coffee to prevent diabetes. But, he
added, "if you want to prevent diabetes, there are some very
straightforward things to do. You can walk for 30 minutes most days
of the week, and reduce calories a little bit and reduce your
weight a little."
Zheng and Huang also pointed out that their study looked
strictly at coffee. "Our study does not imply that the cream and
sugar served with coffee will be beneficial for type 2 diabetes,"
The study was funded by grants from various Chinese governmental
Results of the study were published recently in the
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Learn more about preventing type 2 diabetes from the
American Diabetes Association.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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