Many researchers have noticed an inverse correlation between coffee drinkers and the likelihood of developing diabetes. In previous studies, researchers observed that individuals who drank at least 4 cups of coffee a day were able to cut their risks of developing diabetes in half. The phenomenon was not well understood before. However, a group of researchers from China believe they may finally have an answer.
Coffee contains three different compounds which seem to prevent the hIAPP from building up. The hIAPP is toxic to pancreatic cells and commonly associated with the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Kun Huang is one of the leading researchers and a professor of biological pharmacy at the Huazhong University of Science & Technology. Huang said that after his team discovered the three compounds, they hypothesized that they play an instrumental role in preventing the onset of diabetes. Huang and his colleagues published their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
According to Huang and his team, the three compounds that play a role in fighting the toxic buildup of the hIAPP protein are: caffeine, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid. After exposing the hIAPP protein to these three compounds Huang’s team found that formation of the protein was inhibited. As caffeine, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid prevented the formation of the protein, the pancreatic cells were subjected to less trauma.
Although all three compounds played a role in preventing the buildup of the protein and protecting the pancreatic cells, Huang found that caffeic acid was the most beneficial of the three. Caffeine had the least significant impact on the formation of hIAPP proteins.
The fact that caffeine provided the smallest benefit should be encouraging to many patients who prefer to drink decaffeinated coffee. While drinking four cups of coffee each day could fight the development of type-2 diabetes, many people would be uncomfortable consuming such high levels of caffeine. In fact, it is possible that decaffeinated coffee may be even better for fighting diabetes. Huang pointed out that decaf coffee tends to have higher levels of both chlorogenic acid and caffeic acids.
Vivian Fonseca is a professor at Dulane University’s school of medicine as well as the president for medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association. Fonseca cautions that there are many ways to explain the link. He also stated that Huang’s team conducted their study in a laboratory and would need to follow it up with tests on animals before drawing any formal conclusions. However, he said that the theory is fairly original.
[box type=”important”]Fonseca also wants to caution patients that they should still take additional measures to prevent the onset of diabetes, such as exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet.[/box]