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Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
January 2012

Coffee May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Drinking coffee may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study.

Caffeine is the most well-known active ingredient in coffee. It naturally occurs in the leaves, seeds and fruits of over 60 plants, including coffee beans and tea leaves. There is strong scientific evidence that caffeine may help improve mood, exercise performance and breathing disorders. This compound is considered the most widely used drug in the world.

Generally, dark-roast coffee has less caffeine than lighter roasts, because the roasting process reduces the bean's caffeine content. In general, tea contains more caffeine than coffee; however, a typical serving contains much less, as tea is normally brewed much weaker. Besides the strength of the brew, growing conditions, processing techniques, and other variables may also affect caffeine content. Both the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society have issued statements confirming the safety of moderate caffeine consumption.

In a new study, researchers examined the three main components of coffee: caffeine, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid. They analyzed the effects of these components on the processes that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

The team found that coffee components may prevent the activity of toxic processes that may cause type 2 diabetes. Caffeic acid appeared to have the strongest protective effect.

The scientists concluded that coffee may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, due to the potential protective effects of its main components. However, more research is needed to better understand these findings.

Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a chronic health condition where the body is unable to produce enough insulin and properly break down sugar (glucose) in the blood. Glucose comes from food and is used by the cells for energy. Glucose is also made in the liver. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach. Insulin is needed to move sugar into the cells where it can be used for energy needed for body processes. With Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, the body does not make or use insulin properly. Without enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood and causes a condition called hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels. Diabetes is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Alpha-lipoic acid and konjac glucomannan currently have strong scientific evidence of benefit for use in diabetes.

For more information about coffee or caffeine, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements database.


  1. Cheng B, Liu X, Gong H, et al. Coffee Components Inhibit Amyloid Formation of Human Islet Amyloid Polypeptide in Vitro: Possible Link between Coffee Consumption and Diabetes Mellitus. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2011, 59 (24), pp 13147-13155 DOI: 10.1021/jf201702h. View Abstract
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
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