Monday, February 21, 2011

The Health Benefits Of Coffee

Ahhh the caffeinated beverage, it enhances alertness and invigorates the mind. Drinking coffee has its benefits, one of the first studies on caffeine revealed that regular coffee drinkers actually had a 41% less risk of liver cancer.


All-cause mortality
In women, coffee consumption significantly decreases all-cause mortality, apparently decreasing somewhat linearly to a relative risk of approximately 0.85 for those drinking 3 cups per day compared to those who consume no coffee, but the relative risk then remains almost the same for up to 6 cups per day, according to a large prospective cohort study.
In men, these beneficial effects were not as great, in fact with an increased risk for those drinking approximately one cup every other day compared to those drinking none, but yet having a significant trend towards less mortality for those who drink more than 2 cups per day compared to those who drink none. Results were similar for decaffeinated coffee.

Reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and Dementia

Several studies comparing moderate coffee drinkers (defined as 3-5 cups per day) with light coffee drinkers (defined as 0-2 cups per day) found that those who drank more coffee were significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease later in life.
A longitudinal study in 2009 found that moderate coffee drinkers had reduced risk of developing dementia in addition to Alzheimer's disease.

Reduced risk of gallstone disease
Drinking caffeinated coffee has been correlated with a lower incidence of gallstones and gallbladder disease in both men and women in two studies performed by the Harvard School of Public Health. A lessened risk was not seen in those who drank decaffeinated coffee. A recent study showed that roast coffee protected primary neuronal cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced cell death.

Reduced risk of Parkinson's disease
A study comparing heavy coffee drinkers (3.5 cups a day) with non-drinkers found that the coffee drinkers were significantly less likely to contract Parkinson's disease later in life. Likewise, a second study found an inverse relationship between the amount of coffee regularly drunk and the likelihood of developing Parkinson's disease.

Cognitive performance
Many people drink coffee for its ability to increase short term recall.
Likewise, in tests of simple reaction time, choice reaction time, incidental verbal memory, and visuospatial reasoning, participants who regularly drank coffee were found to perform better on all tests, with a positive relationship between test scores and the amount of coffee regularly drunk. Elderly participants were found to have the largest effect associated with regular coffee drinking.Another study found that women over the age of 80 performed significantly better on cognitive tests if they had regularly drunk coffee over their lifetimes.

.Analgesic enhancement
Coffee contains caffeine, which increases the effectiveness of pain killers, especially migraine and headache medications. For this reason, many over-the-counter headache drugs include caffeine in their formula.

Coffee intake may reduce one's risk of diabetes mellitus type 2 by up to half. While this was originally noticed in patients who consumed high amounts (7 cups a day), the relationship was later shown to be linear.

Liver protection
Coffee can also reduce the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver and has been linked to a reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, a primary liver cancer that usually arises in patients with preexisting cirrhosis. The exact mechanism and the amount of coffee needed to achieve a beneficial effect have long been unclear. The cytokine transforming growth factor (TGF) beta has long been recognized for promoting fibrosis ability acting through the Smad family of transcription factors. In an interesting report recently published in the Journal of Hepatology, Gressner and colleagues provide the first mechanistic context for the epidemiological studies on coffee drinkers by showing that caffeine may have potent anti-fibrotic capabilities through its ability to antagonize the Smad pathway.


Coffee consumption is also correlated to a reduced risk of oral, esophageal, and pharyngeal cancer. In ovarian cancer, no benefit was found. In the Nurses' Health Study, a modest reduction in breast cancer was observed in postmenopausal women only, which was not confirmed in decaffeinated coffee.[24] According to one study, coffee protects the liver from cancer. Another preliminary study found a correlation between coffee consumption and a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer.


Coffee moderately reduces the incidence of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a large prospective cohort study.

Coffee contains the anticancer compound methylpyridinium. This compound is not present in significant amounts in other food materials. Methylpyridinium is not present in raw coffee beans but is formed during the roasting process from trigonelline, which is common in raw coffee beans. It is present in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and even in instant coffee.
A recent study shows that roast coffee contains more lipophilic antioxidants and chlorogenic acid lactones and are more protective against hydrogen peroxide-induced cell death in primary neuronal cells than green coffee.

Prevention of dental caries
The tannins in coffee may reduce the cariogenic potential of foods. In vitro experiments have shown that these polyphenolic compounds may interfere with glucosyltransferase activity of mutans streptococci, which may reduce plaque formation.


Coffee consumption decreased risk of gout in men over age 40. In a large study of over 45,000 men over a 12-year period, the risk for developing gout in men over 40 was inversely proportional with the amount of coffee consumed.
The HCV community certainly is aware of the benefits of drinking coffee. Research has shown the consumption of coffee in HBV patients can reduce the risk of HCC by almost half . .
Coffee is also associated with virolgic response in HCV, according to the HALT C trial.
. A study published in the January 2010 issue of Hepatology; has shown that in people with chronic hepatitis C virus who drink about two and a quarter cups of coffee (with caffeine) daily had milder liver fibrosis.

However, caffeine is not recommended for everyone, especially children; which was recently reported in the journal of Pediatrics.

Possible Harm
As reported in the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, coffee is not completely devoid of risks. Caffeine, coffee’s main ingredient, is a mildly addictive stimulant with cardiovascular effects such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and occasional irregular heartbeat. Studies have been largely inconclusive regarding coffee and its effect on women’s health issues such as breast health, gynecological cancers and osteoporosis. Coffee has also been reported to aggravate previously existing gastrointestinal ulcers.

In fact drinking coffee has taken on a life of its own, so much that a new peer-reviewed journal has been launched, the name? "Journal of Caffeine Research". The new journal will be launched this spring. The subscription runs from $198.00 -544.00, I know !

Groundbreaking Journal on Caffeine Research To Launch in Spring 2011 from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Caffeine is consumed in the daily diet of most people around the globe—in coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, chocolate, and over-the-counter and prescription medications. Until now, there has been no central forum for the publication of scientific studies on the wide range of potential health effects of caffeine. Journal of Caffeine Research: The International Multidisciplinary Journal of Caffeine Science, a new quarterly peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., will provide a much-needed authoritative source to advance knowledge of caffeine science and caffeine’s effects on human health.

A full description of the Journal is available online.

Caffeine’s popularity far exceeds that of any other psychoactive substance, including nicotine, alcohol, and all illicit drugs. Journal of Caffeine Research will publish original research, discussion, and debate about the possible effects of caffeine on a wide range of diseases and conditions, including mood disorders, neurological disorders, cognitive performance, cardiovascular disease, and sports performance. The Journal will explore all aspects of caffeine science including the biochemistry of caffeine; its actions on the human body; benefits, dangers, and contraindications; and caffeine addiction and withdrawal, across all stages of the human life span from prenatal exposure to end-of-life. The Journal will be inclusive with respect to the diversity of research methodologies used to investigate caffeine, and the diversity of views and opinions regarding its mechanisms and effects, and will combine the scientific research and clinical studies on caffeine, with an impact across many fields.

Journal of Caffeine Research is under the editorial leadership of Editor-in-Chief Jack E. James, PhD, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland and a distinguished multidisciplinary editorial board that includes Roland Griffiths, PhD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; James Lane, PhD, Duke University Medical School; Sergi Ferre, MD, PhD, National Institute on Drug Abuse; and Mary Claire O’Brien, MD, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and other leading investigators.

Please visit our website to view the entire editorial board. "There is a strong imperative for a dedicated multidisciplinary forum to ensure that research advances are well disseminated, and the effects of caffeine, both positive and negative, are well understood,” says Mary Ann Liebert, president of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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