TUESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- A natural extract from
unroasted coffee beans may be a tool in fighting the uncontrolled
blood sugar levels characteristic of diabetes, a small, preliminary
new study suggests.
Research done in India on normal-weight participants with normal
blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels found that various doses of
supplements containing green coffee extract all lowered blood
sugar, with higher doses associated with larger drops.
"If this can influence a normal person's [glucose levels], then it should be even better for diabetics because they have a problem," said study author Joe Vinson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania. "The green coffee [extract] is the best aspect of coffee to be taken, I think."
The study was funded by Applied Foods of Austin, Texas,
manufacturers of the green coffee extract.
Vinson was scheduled to present the research, done in India, on
Tuesday at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in New
Orleans. Studies presented at scientific conferences are typically
not yet peer-reviewed and results are considered preliminary.
About 26 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, which is the
most common form, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. Diabetes is linked to conditions including heart
disease, blindness, kidney failure and lower-leg amputations.
A great deal of research has examined the potential health
benefits of coffee. A much-touted 2012 study in the
New England Journal of Medicinesuggested that death rates
fell with each additional cup consumed daily. Meanwhile, a 2009
Archives of Internal Medicinereview of 18 studies involving
more than 457,000 people indicated that each additional daily cup
of coffee was associated with a 7 percent drop in the relative risk
of developing type 2 diabetes.
The studies did not prove that coffee caused these health
effects, but merely that an association existed.
Vinson's study analyzed 30 men and women of normal weight who
did not have diabetes. They took supplements containing between 100
milligrams (mg) and 400 mg of the green coffee extract in a capsule
with water, followed by glucose tolerance tests at several points
All doses of the extract appeared to lower participants' blood
sugar levels, Vinson said, but a dose of 400 mg was associated with
a 24 percent drop 30 minutes after taking the extract and a 31
percent drop 120 minutes later.
Vinson said he believes the sugar-lowering effects of green
coffee extract are due to its concentration of chlorogenic acids --
antioxidants found in apples, cherries, plums and other fruits and
vegetables. High temperatures used to roast coffee beans typically
break down chlorogenic acids, he said, so coffee beverages contain
less of them than extracts found in supplements.
"This study had strictly normal [participants], but it has a lot of potential for diabetes [control]," Vinson said. "It's a fairly cheap intervention and might cost less than a dollar or two per day -- less than a coffee at Starbucks."
But Dr. John Anderson, president of medicine and science at the
American Diabetes Association, cautioned against reaching any firm
conclusions from the research. Green coffee extract would need to
be studied extensively before it could be offered as a potential
prevention or remedy for diabetes, he said.
"To say that something can prevent or delay diabetes is almost impossible to prove unless they're willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research. This needs rigorous scientific experiments to prove," Anderson said. "This is only  people, and all they did was look at a glucose tolerance test. I think it's interesting, but I don't think we really know any more than that."
The American Diabetes Association offers more facts about
type 2 diabetes.
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