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Can Coffee Bean Extract Help Control Blood Sugar?

Small study suggests supplement might help, but diabetes expert is skeptical

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All doses of the extract appeared to lower participants' blood sugar levels, Vinson said, but a dose of 400 mg was associated with a 24 percent drop 30 minutes after taking the extract and a 31 percent drop 120 minutes later.

Vinson said he believes the sugar-lowering effects of green coffee extract are due to its concentration of chlorogenic acids -- antioxidants found in apples, cherries, plums and other fruits and vegetables. High temperatures used to roast coffee beans typically break down chlorogenic acids, he said, so coffee beverages contain less of them than extracts found in supplements.

"This study had strictly normal [participants], but it has a lot of potential for diabetes [control]," Vinson said. "It's a fairly cheap intervention and might cost less than a dollar or two per day -- less than a coffee at Starbucks."

But Dr. John Anderson, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, cautioned against reaching any firm conclusions from the research. Green coffee extract would need to be studied extensively before it could be offered as a potential prevention or remedy for diabetes, he said.

"To say that something can prevent or delay diabetes is almost impossible to prove unless they're willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research. This needs rigorous scientific experiments to prove," Anderson said. "This is only [30] people, and all they did was look at a glucose tolerance test. I think it's interesting, but I don't think we really know any more than that."

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