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Drink Up—More Benefits from Coffee Uncovered

May. 8, 2015|977 views
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We’ve come a long way since the days when people worried that their coffee habit was somehow “bad” for their health. Far from being bad for you, in recent years coffee drinking has been linked to any number of potential health benefits.

Researchers have reported evidence that it may do everything from from helping to prevent certain types of cancer (endometrial, aggressive prostate cancer, breast), to reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, to lowering the risk of dying of all causes. Given that coffee contains up to 1,000 compounds that may account for some of these benefits, it’s little wonder it’s taking time to unravel the facts. 

Nevertheless, evidence continues to mount that coffee does a body good. Even much-maligned caffeine is believed to be a potent antioxidant that helps explain some of coffee’s many benefits. Now, according to the American Academy of Neurology, you can add lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) to the list. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks, and eventually destroys, the protective sheath that surrounds nerve fibers, enabling them to conduct electrical signals rapidly. Affected individuals often develop problems with vision, speech, movement, or the senses.

“Caffeine intake has been associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases,” said Ellen Mowry, MD, MCR, “and our study shows that coffee intake may also protect against MS, supporting the idea that the drug may have protective effects for the brain.” Mowry is associated with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, and is a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study in question will be presented at the Academy’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, in April. Researchers used data gathered during two previous studies, which were conducted in Sweden and the United States. They examined coffee consumption among people with MS in the years before their diagnosis, and compared it to data gathered from similar people without the autoimmune disease.

Among people who never drank coffee, the risk of developing MS was one-and-a-half times greater than among people who drank up to six cups of the brew daily. The effect was strong enough that Mowry said: “Caffeine should be studied for its impact on relapses and long-term disability in MS as well.”

American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "Can coffee reduce your risk of MS?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2015. .

Neal D. Freedman, Yikyung Park, Christian C. Abnet, Albert R. Hollenbeck, Rashmi Sinha. Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. New England Journal of Medicine, 2012; 366 (20): 1891 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1112010

Jorge Rafael León-Carmona, Annia Galano. Is Caffeine a Good Scavenger of Oxygenated Free Radicals? The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2011; 115 (15): 4538 DOI: 10.1021/jp201383y


Tags:  antioxidant, heart health, health tips, prevention