Friday, January 28, 2011

Coffee Consumption Linked to Lower Diabetes Risk

(Article first published as Coffee Drinking Shown to Naturally Prevent Diabetes on Technorati.)

Millions of people rely on their morning cup of coffee to jump-start each day. That caffeine-packed jolt of java is the right elixir to wake the brain and prepare for the mental and physical demands of your daily routine. 

Coffee has been maligned for years due to its high caffeine content and tendency to be used as a delivery method for sugar, artificial flavorings and trans-fat laden dairy products. Researchers from UCLA have found that coffee demonstrates a molecular protective mechanism that can lower the risk of developing diabetes.

Special Compound in Coffee Shown to Lower Diabetes Risk
Proper regulation of the sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen has long been known to play a role in the development of diabetes. Details published as a result of this research in the journal Diabetes shows how compounds found in brewed coffee increase the level of a protein known as sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Increased plasma levels of SHBG decrease the risk of developing diabetes.

Researchers from the UCLA School of Public Health have shown that women who drink at least four cups of coffee a day are less than half as likely to develop diabetes as non-coffee drinkers. Studies have consistently shown that there is a correlation between coffee consumption and lower risk of diabetes. This effect was attributed to an improved tolerance to glucose, improved metabolism and lowered insulin resistance.

Sex Hormones May Promote Diabetes Development
Study results published in the New England Journal of Medicine provide the first clue to the relationship between genes that code for SHBG and the initial developmental stage of diabetes. SBGH has been shown to regulate biologically active sex hormones and can actively bind to receptors that influence signaling and the production of the hormones. Increased levels of the free, unbound form of the active sex hormones play an important role in lowering risk for metabolic disease. 

The NEJM study established that SHBG levels circulating in the blood have a direct correlation to the genetic susceptibility for diabetes. Lead study author, Dr. Simin Liu established that women drinking four cups of caffeinated coffee each day were at significantly lower risk of developing diabetes due to increased SHBG protein levels. 

Study Finds Coffee Consumption Linked to Diabetes Risk
Dr. Liu commented on the results, “we now further show that this protein can be influenced by dietary factors such as coffee intake in affecting diabetes risk - the lower the levels of SHBG, the greater the risk beyond any known diabetes risk factors.” The study examined nearly 40,000 women and found that those with the highest coffee consumption (4 cups per day) were 56% less likely to develop diabetes compared to non-drinkers.

It’s important to note that the research found the protective nature of coffee consumption was only seen when using the caffeinated form of the drink. Although caffeine is not believed to increase SHBG levels independently, the decaffeination process also removes natural compounds found in the coffee bean that are essential to boosting the protein level. Millions of health-minded individuals will find comfort as they lower their risk of developing diabetes by enjoying several cups of Joe every day.

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