Drinking three cups of coffee found to hold health benefits

pharmafile | November 23, 2017 | News story | Medical Communications biotech, coffee, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

In good news for coffee drinkers, drinking three to four cups of coffee was found to lower the risk of certain cancers, diabetes-risk, liver disease and dementia. Researchers concluded that coffee is “more likely to benefit health than to harm it”, after collating a number of studies together.

The research brought together data from over 200 studies, with the headline findings being that drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death and heart disease. Guidelines regarding coffee consumption have varied considerably over the last few decades, with the WHO dropping the drinks’ 25-year status as a possible carcinogen just last year.

The scientists behind the study did caution that the drink could not be considered safe for those who are pregnant and women who are at an increased risk of fracture. Further than this, those behind the research called for clinical trials into the benefit/risk profile of the bean.

For those who choose a decaffeinated beverage, the results, though numbering in less evidence, found a similar benefit profile to regular coffee. The strongest correlation of benefit was found to be in liver conditions, with cirrhosis of the liver being significantly less common in coffee drinkers.

The study concluded, “Coffee consumption seems generally safe within usual levels of intake, with summary estimates indicating largest risk reduction for various health outcomes at three to four cups a day, and more likely to benefit health than harm. Robust randomised controlled trials are needed to understand whether the observed associations are causal. Importantly, outside of pregnancy, existing evidence suggests that coffee could be tested as an intervention without significant risk of causing harm. Women at increased risk of fracture should possibly be excluded.”

The limitations of the study are that it is mainly based on observational data, meaning that the health links could be due to a number of other lifestyle factors. For instance, those that drink more coffee may avoid sugary drinks and therefore show a greater health outcomes associated with avoiding these drinks rather than through drinking coffee alone.

The only other warning the study noted that the tendency to drink coffee alongside a cake would undermine any potential health benefits of the drink itself.

Ben Hargreaves

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