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Diabetes Channel
Reported June 2, 2005

Caffeine Benefits People With Type 1 Diabetes

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- People with type 1 diabetes who regularly consume caffeine may be getting an extra boost from that morning cup of java. New research shows caffeine reduces the risk of nighttime low blood sugars.

Hypoglycemia -- when blood sugar levels drop too low -- is a major concern among people with type 1 diabetes. One way to reduce these dangerous episodes is to “relax” the target blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. However, having blood sugars that are too high poses serious health risks and is directly related to many of the complications people with diabetes often endure, such as retinopathy, neuropathy, kidney damage, and heart disease. Researchers say other ways to reduce these low blood sugar episodes need to be explored.

Recently, researchers have shown that prolonged episodes of hypoglycemia can be missed -- especially during sleep -- if patients are only relying on warning symptoms or fingerstick blood sugar checks. Now, a simple dietary change may make a big difference.

Researchers from Bournemouth in the United Kingdom studied 19 people with long-standing type 1 diabetes. All participants were given a low-caffeine diet (less than 50 milligrams/day) for two weeks. Some also received caffeine capsules (250 milligram) two times a day while others received a placebo. Researchers say the capsules are the equivalent to the average daily caffeine intake in the United Kingdom. Blood sugars were monitored using continuous glucose-sensing technology.

Study results show caffeine reduced the duration of nighttime hypoglycemia with an average duration of 49 minutes vs. 132 minutes. Researchers say: “Despite modern intensive treatment regimens, hypoglycemia continues to be an important problem for patients with type 1 diabetes. The suggested beneficial effects seen here may indicate a role for caffeine in reducing nocturnal hypoglycemia.”

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: /newsalert/.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, 2005; 28:1316-1320

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