Coffee and Caffeine Consumption in Relation to Sex Hormone–Binding Globulin and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Postmenopausal Women

  1. Simin Liu1,3,4
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, Program on Genomics and Nutrition and the Center for Metabolic Disease Prevention, University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, Los Angeles, California;
  2. 2Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts;
  3. 3Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California;
  4. 4Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.
  1. Corresponding author: Simin Liu, siminliu{at}


OBJECTIVE Coffee consumption has been inversely associated with type 2 diabetes risk, but its mechanisms are largely unknown. We aimed to examine whether plasma levels of sex hormones and sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) may account for the inverse association between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes risk.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We conducted a case-control study nested in the prospective Women's Health Study (WHS). During a median follow-up of 10 years, 359 postmenopausal women with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were matched with 359 control subjects by age, race, duration of follow-up, and time of blood draw.

RESULTS Caffeinated coffee was positively associated with SHBG but not with sex hormones. Multivariable-adjusted geometric mean levels of SHBG were 26.6 nmol/l among women consuming ≥4 cups/day of caffeinated coffee and 23.0 nmol/l among nondrinkers (P for trend = 0.01). In contrast, neither decaffeinated coffee nor tea was associated with SHBG or sex hormones. The multivariable-adjusted odds ratio (OR) of type 2 diabetes for women consuming ≥4 cups/day of caffeinated coffee compared with nondrinkers was 0.47 (95% CI 0.23–0.94; P for trend = 0.047). The association was largely attenuated after further adjusting for SHBG (OR 0.71 [95% CI 0.31–1.61]; P for trend = 0.47). In addition, carriers of rs6259 minor allele and noncarriers of rs6257 minor allele of SHBG gene consuming ≥2 cups/day of caffeinated coffee had lower risk of type 2 diabetes in directions corresponding to their associated SHBG.

CONCLUSIONS Our findings suggest that SHBG may account for the inverse association between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes risk among postmenopausal women.


  • Clinical trial reg. no. NCT00000479,

  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

  • Received August 22, 2010.
  • Accepted October 20, 2010.

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  1. Diabetes vol. 60 no. 1 269-275
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