Heavy coffee drinkers at lower risk for type 2 diabetes

Scientists have identified two compounds in coffee that could lower the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the American Chemical Society.

Coffee extracts have three major active components: caffeine, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid. According to the study, both caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid significantly inhibit the misfolding of a substance called human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP). It is believed that misfolding in the hIAPP molecule causes type 2 diabetes.

Caffeic acid had the highest potency in delaying the change in hIAPP molecule in the study conducted in China. Chlorogenic acid also showed significant potency.

Previous studies showed that people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a 50 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Every additional cup of coffee decreases the risk by an another 7 percent.

An article on the research study appears in the November 2011 issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Previous studies
A previous 2006 study published in Diabetes Care concluded that moderate consumption of both daffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle-aged women.

The same study concurred that coffee constituents other than caffeine may affect the development of type 2 diabetes.

Decaffeinated coffee is also beneficial in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes but its effects are weaker than regular coffee, according to a 2004 study by Harvard School of Public Health.

The same Harvard study emphasized that chlorogenic acid in coffee is a strong antioxidant that can improve sensitivity to insulin. Caffeine is known to raise blood sugar in the short term but scientists are just beginning to discover its long term effects.

Sources: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, American Chemical Society, Diabetes Care, Harvard School of Public Health

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