Daily coffee could contribute to longevity finds study

A new study published this week in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine has found evidence that moderate amounts of coffee a day can improve longevity. This latest large study stretched over a decade and included around half a million people between ages 38 and 73 years from England, Wales and Scotland.

Image Credit: PopTika / Shutterstock
Image Credit: PopTika / Shutterstock

Erikka Loftfield, a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute and author of the study said that the main finding of the study was that people who drink two to three cups of coffee per day lowered their risk of death by around 12 percent when compared to people who did not drink coffee. Those who drank decaffeinated coffee too were similarly protected the study noted. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of coffee. These people are known as slow metabolizers of coffee. They too showed a beneficial effect when they drank coffee regularly.

Experts say that coffee is beneficial for health not just because of the caffeine but because of other compounds and antioxidants that they contan. There have been however some studies that show that regular coffee intake may not be good for health. This got the researchers thinking about the association and undertake this new study.

The latest study entitled “Association of Coffee Drinking With Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine Metabolism”, gathered the data and information on the participants from the UK Biobank. The researchers tried to see if moderate amounts of coffee consumption per day was good for health and if heavy intake of coffee (more than 5 cups per day) cause raised risk of death among those who are more sensitive to coffee (poor coffee metabolizers).

The study included 498,134 non-pregnant participants who drank 1 to up to 8 cups of coffee daily. Participants were studied between 2006 and 2016. Genetic data was also obtained and genetic changes in the AHR, CYP1A2, CYP2A6, and POR genes were taken into consideration. These polymorphisms were responsible for persons being slow metabolizers of caffeine.

All kinds of coffee drinking habits were noted among the participants. This included ground coffee, instant coffee as well as decaffeinated coffee. Results showed that 78 percent of the participants were male, rest being female. Over the decade of follow up, there were 14,225 deaths.

It was noted that their risk of death was lowered by around 12 percent as the consumption of coffee rose. Those who drank around 6 to 7 cups of coffee per day had around a 16 percent lower risk of death, the study found. The same association was noted among the poor coffee metabolizers as well. The researchers concluded that this “study provides further evidence that coffee drinking can be part of a healthy diet and offers reassurance to coffee drinkers.”

This study affirms the finding of a recent study published in the British Medical Journal that collated the results of nearly 200 studies of the past. The meta-analysis - as these studies are called, found that drinking three to four cups of coffee daily could have a beneficial effect of the body rather than cause harm.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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