September 24, 2013

How Does Coffee Help Fight Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association estimates that nearly 24 million children and adults in the United States--nearly 8% of the population--have diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and accounts for about 90-95% of these cases.  

Now, UCLA researchers have discovered a possible molecular mechanism to explain why coffee consumption is inversely associated type 2 diabetes risk.  That is, the greater the consumption of coffee, the lesser the risk of diabetes.  Earlier work by the same researchers published in the New England Journal of Medicine had identified two mutations in the gene coding for SHBG and the effect of the mutations on the risk of developing diabetes, one increasing risk and one decreasing risk, depending on the levels of SHBG in the blood.  In the prospective Women's Health Study (WHS) of nearly 40,000 women, during a median follow-up period of ten years, 359 postmenopausal women with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were matched with 359 control subjects by age, race, duration of follow-up, and time of blood draw.  

Sex Hormones

Plasma levels of sex hormones and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) were measured.  SHBG regulates the biological activity of the body's sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen, which have been thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.  Results:  caffeinated coffee was positively associated with SHBG but not with sex hormones.  Plasma levels of SHBG were significantly higher among women consuming four or more cups of coffee per day, compared to non-drinkers.  In contrast, neither decaffeinated coffee nor tea was associated with SHBG levels or sex hormones.  The odds-ratio of type 2 diabetes in women in the four cups of coffee a day group showed  significantly higher levels of SHBG and they were 56% less likely to develop diabetes than the non drinkers.  And those who also carried the protective copy of the SHBG gene appeared to benefit the most from coffee consumption.  The authors suggested that SHBG may account for the inverse association between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes risk among postmenopausal women.  

The importance is that, while a mutation in the gene coding can reflect a genetic susceptibility to developing type 2 diabetes, this study shows that this protein can be influenced by dietary factors such as coffee intake in affecting diabetic risk.  

Source:  American Diabetes Association

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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