The Buzz About Your Morning Joe

January 31, 2011

Could our favorite morning elixir offer protection against type II diabetes? Find out what beverage boasts many benefits here

Many of us reach for that cup of joe, morning after morning… and even into the afternoon and evening for an extra boost of energy; researchers at UCLA may have just found more reason to justify the habit.

Coffee has been shown to have many health benefits including lowering risk of stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Coffee is chock full of antioxidants, and its caffeine content has been linked to easing headaches and increasing endurance. Studies have also consistently shown an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and risk for type II diabetes. It was previously thought that coffee may improve the body's tolerance to glucose by increasing metabolism or improving the insulin response.

But now, researchers at UCLA may have discovered the mechanism behind coffee's protective effect. It all boils down to the protein, SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) which regulates the biological activity of testosterone and estrogen in the body, both of which have been thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. UCLA researchers have discovered that coffee consumption is also linked to levels of SHBG.

Researchers did point out that there is a genetic component to SHBG in the blood, but that this study demonstrates that it can be influenced by dietary factors such as coffee intake in affecting diabetes risk. Results indicated that women who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee each day had significantly higher levels of SHBG than did non-drinkers and were 56 percent less likely to develop diabetes than were non-drinkers! So go out there and get your cup of joe… but make sure its caffeinated because consumption of decaf coffee was not significantly associated with SHBG levels, nor diabetes risk.

Approximately 24 million children and adults in the U.S. -- nearly 8 percent of the population - have diabetes according to The American Diabetes Association. Type II diabetes is the most common form of the disease and accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of these cases.

Healthy diabetes shopping tips

University of California Los Angeles (2011). Why coffee protects against diabetes.