How Coffee Reduces Risk of Diabetes

A newly published scientific study adds to the evidence that drinking coffee reduces the risk of diabetes. Researchers in Athens, Greece have discovered that habitual coffee drinkers have lower levels of inflammation and more antioxidants in their blood. Reuters reports how coffee drinking seems reduce the risk of diabetes via reduction of inflammation and increasing antioxidants.

Coffee drinkers in a long-term study were about half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as those who didn’t drink coffee, and researchers think an inflammation-lowering effect of the beverage might be the key.

Drinking less than 1.5 cups of coffee per day was termed “casual” coffee drinking, and more than 1.5 cups per day was “habitual” drinking. There were 816 casual drinkers, 385 habitual drinkers and 239 non-coffee drinkers.

The participants also had blood tests to evaluate levels of protein markers of inflammation. The tests also measured antioxidant levels, which indicate the body’s ability to neutralize cell-damaging “free radicals.”

Habitual coffee drinkers were 54 percent less likely to develop diabetes compared to non-coffee drinkers, even after accounting for smoking, high blood pressure, family history of diabetes and intake of other caffeinated beverages, the researchers reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Levels of serum amyloid, one of the inflammatory markers in the blood, seemed to explain some of the relationship between coffee and diabetes, the authors write. Higher coffee consumption went along with lower amyloid levels.

An interest thought arises here. High levels of coffee consumption are also related to a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, a disease in which amyloid plaques damage nerves in the brain. The Alzheimer’s Association explains how beta-amyloid destroys nerve cells in the brain by causing brain plaques.

Plaques form when protein pieces called beta-amyloid (BAY-tuh AM-uh-loyd) clump together. Beta-amyloid comes from a larger protein found in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells.

Beta-amyloid is chemically “sticky” and gradually builds up into plaques. The most damaging form of beta-amyloid may be groups of a few pieces rather than the plaques themselves. The small clumps may block cell-to-cell signaling at synapses. They may also activate immune system cells that trigger inflammation and devour disabled cells.

How coffee reduces the risk of diabetes seems to be related to how it reduces Alzheimer’s risk as well.

More Evidence

Previous studies have shown that people who drink up to six cups of coffee a day have half the risk of developing type II diabetes. This study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that people who report drinking a cup and a half a day have this benefit. The additional value of this study is that it provides more insight into why this works. Fox News reports on the same story of how lower inflammation seems to go along with a reduced incidence of diabetes.

The study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who drank coffee were about 50 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to people who did not drink coffee. Scientists believe that the reason for a reduction in the risk for type 2 diabetes could be the effect coffee has on the reducing the amount of inflammation in the body.

There have been prior studies that have shown a link between coffee consumption and diabetes. This study is unique in that it may help confirm a cause-and-effect hypothesis regarding coffee consumption and diabetes.

The only way to prove all of this beyond a doubt would be to confirm daily coffee consumption versus no coffee to comparison in two groups and do it for years. That would be a task but there are probably coffee drinkers who would be up to the challenge.

Leave a Reply