So, the researchers behind the new study conducted laboratory experiments to see if compounds found in coffee could inhibit the production of the abnormal protein deposits associated with hIAPP.
Caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and caffeine -- the three most common components in coffee, the study authors said -- helped reduce the abnormal protein deposits, but caffeic acid appeared most effective.
"Our results suggest that caffeic acid had the greatest effects in the major components of coffee. The rankings for beneficial effects of coffee compounds against the toxic hIAPP aggregation are caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and caffeine," Zheng and study co-author Kun Huang, professor of biological pharmacy at the Huazhong University of Science & Technology in Wuhan, explained in an email interview.
Because decaffeinated coffee contains even higher levels of caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid than caffeinated coffee, the beneficial effect may be even stronger for decaffeinated coffee, they added.
The investigators pointed out that this work has only been done in cells, so it's not clear if this is how coffee might help prevent diabetes in the body.
A U.S. diabetes expert was guardedly optimistic about the study's conclusions.
"Scientifically, this is a very nice paper, but it has its limitations," said Dr. Vivian Fonseca, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association. "This was done in cells, not in animals or people. We also don't know if the [abnormal deposits arising from hIAPP] are the most important thing in the development of type 2 diabetes, or if it's something that develops later."
In addition, Fonseca said, the study that found a link between a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and coffee was an epidemiological study. That means the study couldn't prove cause and effect, only that there was an association between those two factors. It cou
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