Keep enjoying your morning coffee, because it may help prevent type 2 diabetes, according to a new Danish research. In a mouse model study, researchers at the Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark found that a bioactive substance known as cafestol, which is found in coffee – elevated insulin secretion, decreased fasting glucose levels, and enhanced insulin sensitivity.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when our body can no longer make enough insulin or use it effectively. This results in a spike in blood glucose levels.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are not always obvious; many people could be suffering with the condition for years without knowing they have it.
There are approximately 4 million people living with diabetes in the UK. Across the country, 4,500 people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every week.
Around 30 million people in the U.S. are living with diabetes, and most of these cases are type 2 diabetes (around 90 to 95%).
Past studies also suggested that coffee drinking may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Among these studies, some attributed this connection to caffeine – the well-known substance found in coffee, but other research has suggested that other compounds in the beverage might be responsible for this.
This new study backs the latter theory, after discovering that cafestol enhanced markers of type 2 diabetes in mice.
For their study, the researchers analysed 3 groups of mice. All these mice were at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
For 10 weeks, researchers fed one group 1.1 milligrams of cafestol daily; the second group was fed a daily dose of 0.4 cafestol, while the third group (the control group) wasn’t fed the substance.
After the 10-week study period, the team found that the two groups that received cafestol had a 28-30% decrease in blood glucose levels, compared with the third group (control group).
At the same time, the mice that received the higher dose of cafestol displayed a 42% improvement in insulin sensitivity, compared with the control group, and a 20% decrease in fasting glucagon – the hormone responsible for increasing blood glucose levels. [Read more Drinking coffee daily may lead to a longer life, new study shows]
Islets of Langerhans are the pancreatic cells that usually produce insulin. After the end of the 10-week study period, the team isolated these cells from each group of mice.
They discovered that there was a 75 to 87% increase in insulin production in the islets that were isolated from the cafestol fed mice, compared with islets isolated from the control group.
Study co-author Fredrik Brustad Mellbye, of the Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, says their findings demonstrate that “cafestol possesses antidiabetic properties” in mice at high risk for type 2 diabetes.
“Consequently, cafestol may contribute to the reduced risk of developing T2D [type 2 diabetes] in coffee consumers and has a potential role as an antidiabetic drug,” Mellbye concludes.
The study was published in the Journal of Natural Products.