Coffee consumption and risk of death and disease - WRBL

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Coffee consumption and risk of death and disease

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A study by the Mayo Clinic found that there is a positive association between coffee consumption and death in men and women. But as Dr. Kevin Campbell will discuss on WNCN Today, how much coffee is too much?

According to the latest National Coffee Drinking Study from the National Coffee Association, about 64 percent of American adults drink coffee each day. And among those coffee drinkers, the average coffee consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups per day.

During the past four decades, the association between coffee consumption and chronic health outcomes has been investigated in relation to conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and coronary heart disease. Coffee contains caffeine which results in the release of epinephrine and other hormonal effects in the body.

The Mayo Clinic study was conducted over a 17 year-span and involved nearly 45,000 participants. The study examined the association for all cause death as well as cardiac causes of death in both men and women. Researchers found that younger men (age 55 or younger) who passed the 28-cup weekly threshold had a 56 percent increased risk of death from all causes.

Younger women (age 55 or younger) who were heavy coffee drinkers had a greater than two-fold increased mortality risk. There was no association between cardiac specific death and coffee consumption.

What are the possible reasons for this increased risk of death in heavy coffee drinkers?

Recent research has found that coffee is one of the major sources of antioxidants in the diet and has potential beneficial effects on inflammation. However, it is also well known that coffee has potential adverse effects because of caffeine's potential to stimulate the release of epinephrine, inhibit insulin activity, and increase blood pressure and homocysteine levels, all of which are associated with higher risk of disease and death.

Researchers also hypothesize that a genetic predisposition for coffee addiction may also play a role---thus, the positive association between coffee and mortality may be due to the interaction of age and coffee consumption, combined with a component of genetic coffee addiction.

Also, there is a big association between smoking and coffee consumption. This could help explain why heavy coffee drinkers have higher death rates; however the study did not control for those that were also smokers.

How does this study compare to other studies of coffee and its long term effects on health?

There have been many previous studies of coffee and health outcomes. The results are quite variable. There are some studies that have found a similar result to this one—heavy consumption of coffee is not good for us. However, there is also

A large body of research that has confirmed that a coffee habit is perfectly fine for most people, and may even have some health benefits – from fighting depression in women to lowering the risk of stroke and prostate cancer.

Just as with most things in life, it is important to enjoy in moderation. For the most par, younger people should avoid heavy coffee consumption.

 

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