According to the study, published in current issue of the journal ‘Diabetes,’ women who drink three to four cups of coffee a day cut their risk of diabetes by 50 percent or more. Hitherto studies have shown that coffee offers a protective effect against type 2 diabetes, but the real reason behind the effect was not known. Now, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered a possible molecular mechanism that might be responsible for preventing the metabolic condition.
A plausible explanation
Sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) is a type of glycoprotein that regulates the production of sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen which are believed to play a crucial role in triggering diabetes. As per researchers, coffee consumption increases plasma levels of sex hormone–binding globulin, thereby maintaining the insulin levels required by the body in order to function properly.
Study details and findings
In order to assess the link between daily consumption of coffee and type 2 diabetes, study author Atsushi Goto, a doctoral student in epidemiology and Dr. Simin Liu, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at UCLA, conducted a study. For the study, researchers examined 359 diabetes patients and 359 healthy controls of similar age and race selected from the database of nearly 400,000 women enrolled in a large scale Women’s Health Study. It was found that women who drank three to four cups of coffee regularly reported higher levels of sex hormone–binding globulin as compared to non-drinkers. In fact, the coffee sippers were 56 percent less likely to develop diabetes than non-drinkers, the study authors averred. When the findings of the study were adjusted for the glycoprotein levels, it was noted that the protective effect of coffee disappeared. SHBG blood levels may hold the key to reducing risks for type 2 diabetes, said Dr. Simin Liu, director of the Center for Metabolic Disease Prevention at UCLA and study co-author. Though the research gives new light to diabetes prevention in middle-aged women, health experts maintain that excess of everything is bad, and this is no different in case of caffeine.