Thursday, May 5, 2011

Drinking Coffee = Higher Adiponectin = Lower Body Fat Percentage?

Drinking coffee increases adiponectin levels
Want to lower your body fat? Coffee might an option. (Photo by annais)

Adiponectin is a protein hormone that modulates several metabolic processes related to weight gain. Adiponectin levels are inversely correlated with body fat percentage (link) – for example, diabetics have lower levels of adiponectin than non-diabetics, and losing weight increases adiponectin levels.

Since adiponectin affects glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity, and low adiponectin levels are a risk factor for developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome, it raises the question of whether increasing adiponectin levels might be a good thing.

A study from last year looked at the effects of coffee on adiponectin levels in 665 Japanese males (link). Adiponectin levels were measured from serum samples, and coffee consumption was assessed using a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire also included green tea consumption, so that the effects of green tea and coffee could be compared.

The participants who drank more coffee tended to be younger, more likely to smoke, and less likely to drink alcohol. The mean age of non-drinkers was 49.9, while the mean age of those who drank at least three cups per day was 48.2. Interestingly, non-drinkers had the highest mean blood pressure (systolic 129.5 and diastolic 80.7 mmHg) of all groups, while those who drank 1-2 cups per day had the lowest (123.1 and 76.7) – although this could just be due to the age difference. There were no significant differences in BMI or physical activity between coffee drinkers and non-drinkers. Unfortunately, body fat percentage was not measured.

However, adiponectin levels were significantly higher in those who drank coffee compared to non-drinkers. In those who drank none, 1–5 cups per week, 1–2 cups per day, and >2 cups per day, adiponectin levels were 5.95, 6.51, 7.05 and 6.89 mcg/mL, respectively.

When confounding factors such as age, smoking status and BMI were adjusted for, adiponectin levels were still positively associated with coffee consumption. There was a significant dose-response relationship between coffee consumption and adiponectin levels. However, there were no significant differences in adiponectin levels between those who drank 1–2 cups and those who drank >2 cups per day.

Green tea was not associated with adiponectin levels. There was also no association between coffee consumption and total cholesterol, HDL or LDL.

Although this study included only men, similar findings have been reported in women. In one study, diabetic and non-diabetic women who drank at least four cups of coffee per day had higher adiponectin levels than those who didn't drink coffee regularly (link). Interestingly, caffeine consumption was also associated with adiponectin levels. Perhaps the adiponectin-increasing effect of caffeine is diminished or blocked by other compounds such as L-theanine in green tea.

There's also one interventional study on habitual coffee drinkers that found coffee consumption increased adiponectin levels (link). Unlike in the study on Japanese males, total cholesterol and HDL also increased – possibly because the intake of coffee was higher (8 cups per day) at the end of the experiment.

Based on this and other studies, the key points are:

a) those who drink coffee have higher adiponectin levels than those who don't
b) those who have higher adiponectin levels have lower body fat percentage

All in all, while correlation does not prove causation, it seems plausible that drinking coffee could help maintain a lower body fat percentage and avoid type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

If you have personal experiences with coffee and weight loss, feel free to share them in the comment section below. For more information on weight and fat loss, see these posts:

Why Are Thin People Not Fat?
A Year of Intermittent Fasting: ADF, Condensed Eating Window, Weight Loss, And More
Green Tea and Capsaicin Reduce Hunger and Calorie Intake
The Twinkie Diet: Thoughts on Weight Loss and Cholesterol



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5 kommenttia:

theotherworldly June 18, 2011 at 12:10 AM  

I think there are more confounding variables - black coffee? Mocha frapp? You get the idea. Especially since you mentioned adiponectin's relationship with diabetes and insulin, presumably the effect of glucose in coffee may affect the findings. If someone drinks a latte alone the sugars in the milk will have an effect on insulin response. How insulin and adiponectin work synergistically is not well understood as of yet, and whether it is coffee or sugar that is causing such findings cannot be conclusive.

Green tea on the other hand, especially in Japan, is drunk almost exclusively without sugar. You can see what I mean by the findings potentially showing false positives in correlation or causation. The caffeine content difference (due to solubility of caffeine-containing compounds) between tea and coffee may also create confusing results (perhaps it is a higher dosage of soluble caffeine that matters, rather than coffee vs green tea?)

For a better weighted study, decaffeinated coffee and decaffeinated green tea should be investigated to better visualise the relationship between the other active compounds within the two beverages.

Anonymous June 18, 2011 at 4:47 PM  

Was the effect of sugary drink (e.g. soda) consumption considered? It seems that it's possible the coffee drinkers are people who prefer to get their caffeine from coffee and others from energy drinks or soda, in which case, sugar might again be the culprit.

Anonymous October 12, 2012 at 9:15 AM  

Hi... I think the drinking coffee and higher Adiponectin correlation is interesting. There is a balance... Adiponectin and Leptin levels are inversely proportional to each other. Extremely high levels of Adiponectin have been linked to death. High Leptin levels are attributed to metabolic syndrome.

Also, Adiponectin is found in a mutimeric form and in the form of a monomer. High levels of what form of Adiponectin are we talking about. There are a lot of unknowns here and I would not draw too many conclusions as the relation of coffee with Adiponectin.

Early last year, I became frustrated with my weight problem... At 5'7", I weighed 186 pounds. A bit over weight... there after I decided to experiment with Coffee. Coffee without milk or sugar. In about a week, I noticed serious weight-loss. I ended up loosing 15 pounds, stable, in 3 weeks. By the end of the venture, I had lost 25 pounds.

Anonymous October 12, 2012 at 9:16 AM  

Hi... I think the drinking coffee and higher Adiponectin correlation is interesting. There is a balance... Adiponectin and Leptin levels are inversely proportional to each other. Extremely high levels of Adiponectin have been linked to death. High Leptin levels are attributed to metabolic syndrome.

Also, Adiponectin is found in a mutimeric form and in the form of a monomer. High levels of what form of Adiponectin are we talking about. There are a lot of unknowns here and I would not draw too many conclusions as the relation of coffee with Adiponectin.

Early last year, I became frustrated with my weight problem... At 5'7", I weighed 186 pounds. A bit over weight... there after I decided to experiment with Coffee. Coffee without milk or sugar. In about a week, I noticed serious weight-loss. I ended up loosing 15 pounds, stable, in 3 weeks. By the end of the venture, I had lost 25 pounds.

suzanne March 20, 2014 at 4:41 AM  

I found this article interesting. I was researching what caused high levels of Adiponectin after my tests showed a level of 35.9, but my doctor told me it was nothing to worry about since all my other levels are fine. I do drink 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day and do not have a weight problem. This seems to explain the level to me.

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