Caffeine Slashes Death Risk in Women with Diabetes

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

New research presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting, held in Lisbon, Portugal, found that caffeine can significantly decrease the risk of death among women with diabetes.

The study – which was jointly led by Dr. João Sérgio Neves and Prof. Davide Carvalho, both from the University of Porto in Portugal – examined the link between consuming different amounts of caffeine and mortality risk among men and women with diabetes.

Studying caffeine and death risk

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Dr. Neves and team looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected between 1999 and 2010. For their study, the researchers examined 1,568 women and 1,484 men with diabetes.

They evaluated the participants’ caffeine intake using “24-hour dietary recalls” – that is, interviews that assessed the participants’ coffee consumption during the previous 24 hours. Subjects were also asked about the source of their caffeine, be it from coffee, tea, or soft drinks.

Drinking two coffees daily cuts death risk

Over the 11-year period, 618 people died. No significant association was found between caffeine consumption and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, or cancer-related mortality among men.

However, women who had up to 100 milligrams of caffeine – the equivalent of one cup of coffee – every day had a 51 percent lower risk of dying prematurely than women who did not have any caffeine.

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More specifically, women who had the highest intake of caffeine from tea were 80 percent less likely to die from cancer compared with women who did not get any caffeine from their tea.

“The effect on mortality appears to depend on the source of caffeine, with a protective effect of coffee consumption on all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality, and a protective effect of caffeine from tea on cancer mortality among women with diabetes.”

Strengths and limitations of the study

When speaking to ishonest about the strengths and limitations of the research, Dr. Neves explained, “We evaluated a cohort of participants from a large database representative of the American population, data was prospectively collected, and hard outcome measures such as death and cause-specific mortality were used.”

“Furthermore, we adjusted our analysis for the main biologically plausible confounders,” he added.

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“As for limitations,” Dr. Neves continued, “we assessed caffeine consumption only at the start of the study and we cannot exclude that this data may not represent long-term dietary habits. No adjustment was performed for additives present in caffeine-containing beverages.”

On the possible mechanisms underlying the findings, Dr. Neves told us, “The observed benefits may be directly related to caffeine or to other components present in caffeine-containing beverages.”

“Previous studies have shown that consumption of coffee or tea is associated with improved insulin sensitivity and better control of postprandial glycemia in patients with diabetes.”

“Furthermore,” Dr. Neves added, “the minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants present in the caffeine-containing beverages may also contribute to the benefit seen in women’s mortality.”

“We believe that further studies, with larger cohorts, are indeed needed to confirm [these benefits],” he concluded.

Read more on: women, diabetes

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