Previous studies have shown that drinking coffee may help protect against type-2 diabetes, but exactly how has remained a mystery. Now a new Chinese study reports that compounds in coffee may inhibit the formation of protein compounds that contribute to the death of cells in the pancreas, which produces insulin. Researchers focused on a chlorogenic acid naturally found in coffee, demonstrating in the lab significant inhibitory effects on the compounds linked to pancreatic cell death. They also looked at caffeine, and found a weak inhibitory effect on the damaging proteins and on the protection of pancreas cells. This is the first time, scientists noted, that caffeine has been shown to have beneficial effects on the pancreas. Researchers speculated that coffee compounds might be considered for future anti-diabetes drug development.
TO LEARN MORE: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Dec. 28, 2011; abstract at dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf201702h.