A new study confirms that coffee helps reduce the ill effects of diabetes and pre-diabetic metabolic syndrome. Measuring blood markers that indicate related health consequences, Brazilian scientists concluded that coffee has a measurable, protective effect. That protection, they believe, comes from coffee’s well-established leveling effect on sugar and fat levels in the blood.
The researchers fed coffee to laboratory rats chosen for their genetic predisposition to diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The animals were separated into two groups – those with diabetes and those without – each of which was further divided into those fed only water and those fed coffee. Among the diabetic rats who were fed coffee, there was a significant blood sugar reduction within 21 days. There was also a reduction in overall blood cholesterol level of 5%, and a decrease of about 40% in triglycerides.
Strong, positive effects were also found when kidney function markers were measured. Blood urea, an indicator of kidney damage, was reduced by about 31% in the diabetic group. The levels of creatinine, another indicator of kidney malfunction disease, were also lowered by about 31%. Yet another indicator of kidney problems, uric acid, was reduced among the treated diabetic group to the levels of the non-diabetic, untreated group. These findings led the scientists to conclude that “the coffee drink administered actually showed benefits in protecting the kidney of these animals.”
The researchers also discussed the ways coffee is thought to deliver these beneficial effects against diabetic health consequences. Essentially, the benefits stem from coffee’s well-known regulation of sugar metabolism. As for the way coffee regulates blood sugar, theories center around important components of coffee’s 2,000 chemical components, including: chlorogenic acid, which retards sugar “transporter” chemicals in the intestines; magnesium, which positively impacts glucose tolerance; and coffee’s many antioxidants, which neutralize so-called free radical cells that create the “oxidative stress” known to play a role in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.
The study, Influence of Coffee Brew in Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes was published in Plant Foods in Human Nutrition in May. Lead by Dr. Sheila Andrade Abrahão, the Brazilian team concluded that “the coffee beverage showed an important effect in some markers of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.” However, they also caution that more animal and human studies are needed to clarify the causal connection.