Researchers discover process by which coffee lowers type 2 diabetes risk

Millions of people turn to coffee each morning to get a jumpstart on their day, but most probably don’t realize their morning ritual may actually be lowering their risk for type 2 diabetes.

Several studies have noted a relationship between coffee consumption and lower diabetes risk. However, none of these studies could answer the question of what it is about the drink that appears to offer protection against the metabolic condition.

Now, a team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles has reported that the answer may lie in our hormones. Their investigation found that coffee consumption boosts the production of a specific protein that is known to regulate the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, which have been shown to play a role in diabetes risk.

For the study, researchers examined the records of more than 700 participants. During the study period, they found that those who drank four cups or more of coffee each day had significantly higher levels of the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) protein than did non-drinkers.

Additionally, those who drank coffee were 56 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes during the study period.

Studies have shown that higher levels of testosterone and estrogen correlate to an increased risk of developing diabetes. The researchers concluded that by increasing levels of the sex hormone-binding globulin protein, protein helps keep hormone levels in check, thereby reducing diabetes risk. However, the researchers warned that decaf-lovers may not see as much benefit.

"Consumption of decaffeinated coffee was not significantly associated with SHBG levels, nor diabetes risk," said Atsushi Goto, who led the study. "So you probably have to go for the octane!"
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