UCLA Logo While quite a few individuals are aware about the benefits of drinking coffee to avoid type 2 diabetes, the precise reason behind this may be hidden under wraps. Well, the following piece of information sheds light on the probable mechanism which provides coffee its protective effect. UCLA scientists claim that coffee consumption elevates plasma levels of sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) that lowers the threat of developing type 2 diabetes.

Apart from controlling biological activity of the body’s sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen, this hormone is also believed to be a hallmark in type 2 diabetes development. At the time of the study, women drinking at least four cups of coffee a day appeared half as likely to develop diabetes as non-coffee drinkers. On adjusting levels of SHBG, the protective effect of coffee seemingly disappeared.

“That genetic evidence significantly advanced the field because it indicated that SHBG may indeed play a causal role in affecting risk for type 2 diabetes. It seems that SHBG in the blood does reflect a genetic susceptibility to developing type 2 diabetes. But we now further show that this protein can be influenced by dietary factors such as coffee intake in affecting diabetes risk — the lower the levels of SHBG, the greater the risk beyond any known diabetes risk factors,” quoted Atsushi Goto, a UCLA doctoral student in epidemiology who is also the first author of the study.

In order to conduct the study, experts compared 359 new diabetes cases matched by age and race with 359 healthy controls. It was pointed out that woman consuming four cups of caffeinated coffee every day have dramatically higher levels of SHBG than non-drinkers. Such women may also be 56 percent less likely to develop diabetes as compared to non-drinkers and carry the protective copy of the SHBG gene. On controlling blood SHBG levels, investigators were unable to find a strong link between the decrease in risk and coffee consumption. It can therefore be concluded that, SHBG enables coffee to decline chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study is published in the current edition of the journal Diabetes.