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Coffee Berry Contains some Well-Studied Phytochemicals

Diabetes

Before insulin, botanical medicines were used to treat diabetes. They are remarkably safe and effective. However, because many botanical medicines function similarly to insulin, people taking oral diabetes medications or insulin should use caution to avoid hypoglycemia. Botanical medicines should be integrated into a regimen of adequate exercise, healthy eating, nutritional supplements, and medical support.

Coffee berry contains some well-studied phytochemicals such as chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and quinic acid (Charles-Bernard M et al 2005). Some of coffee berry’s most impressive effects can be seen in blood glucose management. Chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid are the two primary nutrients in coffee that benefit individuals with high blood sugar. Glucose-6-phosphatase is an enzyme crucial to the regulation of blood sugar. Since glucose generation from glycogen stored in the liver is often overactive in people with high blood sugar (Basu R et al 2005), reducing the activity of the glucose-6-phosphatase enzyme leads to reduced blood sugar levels, with consequent clinical improvements.

Chlorogenic acid has been shown to inhibit the glucose-6-phosphatase enzyme in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in reduced glucose production (Hemmerle H et al 1997). In a trial at the Moscow Modern Medical Center, 75 healthy volunteers were given either 90 mg chlorogenic acid daily or a placebo. Blood glucose levels of the chlorogenic acid group were 15 percent to 20 percent lower than those of the placebo group (Abidoff MT 1999). Chlorogenic acid also has an antagonistic effect on glucose transport, decreasing the intestinal absorption rate of glucose (Johnston KL et al 2003), which may help reduce blood insulin levels and minimize fat storage.

If you go back to the 1970s, people with a serious coffee habit often had an accompanying habit: smoking.

And that’s why early studies gave coffee a bad rap. Clearly, smoking was harmful. And it was hard for researchers to disentangle the two habits. “So it made coffee look bad in terms of health outcomes,” Harvard researcher Meir Stampfer explained to me.

But fast-forward a quarter century, and the rap on coffee began to change.

As we’ve reported, recent studies have found that people who drink coffee regularly are at lower risk of depression, and perhaps Alzheimer’s too.

Now, there’s further evidence that coffee also helps cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In the most recent meta-analysis, researchers found that drinking two or more cups of coffee per day was associated with a 12 percent decreased risk of developing the disease. And even decaffeinated coffee seemed to cut the risk, though not as much as the caffeinated kind.

Of course, the most significant risk factor for Type 2 diabetes is weight. And, indeed, the study found that coffee’s protective effect didn’t seem to hold up as well in overweight people.

So, what explains coffee’s beneficial effects on diabetes?

Well, researchers say there may be several explanations. Coffee contains a host of polyphenols, beneficial plant compounds. And researchers have identified one compound, chlorogenic acid (CGA), which has been shown in studies to delay the absorption of glucose.

For more information on specific programs to address your blood pressure, contact Dan Prater, ND on 219.613.1161 or via email.

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