Danish scientists have identified two compounds that contribute to this health benefit, adding that this knowledge can help them develop new medications to better prevent and treat the disease.
To investigate which of coffee's many bioactive components are responsible for diabetes prevention, the team tested the effects of different coffee substances in rat cell lines.
The researchers investigated different coffee compounds' effects on cells in the lab.
The two compounds - cafestol and caffeic acid - increased insulin secretion when glucose was added.
The team also found that cafestol increased glucose uptake in muscle cells, matching the levels of a currently prescribed antidiabetic drug.
According to lead researcher Soren Gregersen from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, cafestol's dual benefits make it a good candidate for the prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
However, because coffee filters eliminate much of the cafestol in drip coffee, it is likely that other compounds also contribute to these health benefits.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes become resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps turn glucose from food into energy.
To overcome this resistance, the pancreas makes more insulin, but eventually, it just can't make enough.
High blood glucose levels can cause health problems, such as blindness and nerve damage.
Several genetic and life style risk factors have been linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes, but drinking coffee has been shown to help prevent its onset.
The paper was reported in ACS' Journal of Natural Products.
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