A compound found in coffee appears to delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in mice and may be useful for future treatments, researchers have said.
Although previous studies have identified specific coffee substances which could be beneficial for preventing the condition, they have never before been tested on animals with successful findings.
Initially it was thought that caffeine may help delay type 2 diabetes onset, but further research identified a compound called cafestol which was found to improve insulin production.
Danish researchers wanted to go one step further and see how cafestol worked in mice that were on the cusp of developing type 2 diabetes. They divided the animals into three groups: two of the groups received different dosages of the compound and the third was not given anything.
After 10 weeks, the mice which had been fed cafestol were found to have lower blood sugar levels and their insulin production had improved compared to the group which had not been given any.
They also found the substance did not increase the risk of low blood sugar levels, otherwise known as hypoglycemia, which can sometimes be a symptom of other diabetes treatments.
The researchers concluded that “daily consumption of cafestol can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in these mice, and that it is a good candidate for drug development to treat or prevent the disease in humans”.
Further research will be needed to see whether the drug is effective in people. Many drugs have been shown as effective in mice but very few are ultimately successful enough in humans to be approved.
The study was published in the Journal of Natural Products.

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