After I was diagnosed with acute asthma last year I was having a hard time getting stable on my meds. Some were too strong and some were too weak. Remembering and article I’d read years before about the effects of caffeine as a stimulant for early treatment of asthma I turned to my favorite morning beverage to not only wake me up, but keep me breathing. Now, it seems, coffee has another advantage for the aging among us, it can help fend off Type II Diabetes.

Ling Zheng, Kun Huang and colleagues explain that previous studies show that coffee drinkers are at a lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-95 percent of diabetes cases in the world. Those studies show that people who drink four or more cups of coffee daily have a 50 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. And every additional cup of coffee brings another decrease in risk of almost 7 percent. Scientists have implicated the misfolding of a substance called human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP) in causing Type 2 diabetes, and some are seeking ways to block that process. Zheng and Huang decided to see if coffee’s beneficial effects might be due to substances that block hIAPP.

Indeed, they identified two categories of compounds in coffee that significantly inhibited hIAPP. They suggest that this effect explains why coffee drinkers show a lower risk for developing diabetes. “A beneficial effect may thus be expected for a regular coffee drinker,” the researchers conclude. (via Science Blog)