Monday, 16 June 2008

Coffee won’t kill you!

Harvard School of Public Health researchers looked at the data collected from 84 214 women from the famous Nurses’ Health Study and 41 736 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were followed for 24 years and 18 years respectively. What they found was that those that regularly drank caffeinated coffee- up to 6 cups a day- did not have an increased risk of death or of cancer- after adjusting for age, smoking and other heart disease and cancer risk factors.

I guess that’s a good thing for coffee drinkers… Woohoo! Coffee won’t kill you!

Joking aside, it is a pretty important finding since previous research on the relationship between caffeine and death has been inconsistent.

What’s more, and what’s getting the news buzz, is that the scientists found a modest benefit to drinking coffee. Women that consumed 2-3 cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 25% lower risk of heart disease-related death than those that didn’t drink any coffee. Those that drank 4-5 cups a day had a 34% lower risk. This effect was strongest in women- it was found to not be statistically significant in men.

What’s interesting is that those that drank decaffeinated coffee also had slightly lower death rates. As such, the benefit doesn’t seem to be related to the caffeine in coffee but perhaps to another compound.

The researchers caution that the possibility of coffee having a health benefit needs to be further investigated. Scientists also warn that caffeine affects everybody individually and can cause various side effects for certain people, including increased heart rate, heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia etc. Caffeine has also been linked to an increased risk of miscarriages therefore if you’re a women that can become pregnant, you want to limit your caffeine intake to 300mg a day.

The participants in the study were all healthy so the effect of coffee can be different if you have a chronic illness. Coffee consumption was also self reported by the participants only ever 2-4 years, thus introducing possible measurement errors.

Bottom line: Don't start increasing your coffee intake to try to live longer just yet.

American College of Physicians (2008, June 16). Drinking Large Amounts Of Coffee May Actually Extend One's Lifespan, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 16, 2008, from­ /releases/2008/06/080616170839.htm


Anonymous said...

Hi Nut.Nib,
Am rest assured now reading your post about coffee.
I heard that drinking coffee could kill the sperm cells. Being unmarried, i became scared and ran to google immediately.
Here you are telling me that coffee won't kill me. Thank you.
Bytheway, if coffee won't kill me but kill my sperm cells, what do i live for?
Does coffee cause such damge??

Sybil Hebert, RD said...

Thanks for your comments.
Where did you read that caffeine could kill sperm? I have not come across that in my research.
Being overweight or obese will affect fertility.
Some nutrients have been shown to improve sperm functioning, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, folic acid, lycopene and zinc. However, supplementing with these nutrients is not recommended (for example, high intakes of selenium has been associated with decreased sperm motility). All these important nutrients are found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes...
Eating healthy and being a healthy weight will keep your sperm healthy... and give you something to live for!
Hope this helped.