By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Researchers seem to love studying the effect of coffee on health. There’s almost ten thousand studies with coffee in the title dating back to 1866 in the database of the National Library of Medicine. In one recent study, a team of U.S. researchers analyzed the coffee drinking habits of more than forty thousand people over a seventeen year period and reported that twenty-eight cups a week (about four a day) or more is associated with an increased risk of non-cardiovascular mortality, particularly among men and women younger than 55, compared to non-drinkers. The definition of a cup, in this study, was 8-oz.
Non-cardiovascular issues can be anything not heart-related, including cancer, and include even accidents, suicides, and infections. The researchers weren’t sure as to why high coffee intake increases such mortality among younger people.
Access study here.
My Viewpoint: Recent research on coffee has shown that several cups a day have a harmless or protective effect on the cardiovascular system. What’s interesting here is the impact on non-cardiovascular issues that the researchers can’t clearly explain. Keep in mind that this is a computerized study and can only produce possible associations, unlike randomized, controlled studies where you can compare a group of people that does something to another group that doesn’t. The fact is that multiple cups of caffeine-containing coffee have the potential to generate various effects in the body that stem, among other things, from caffeine’s stimulant effect.
What this means to you: Maybe nothing more than a heads-up.
Recommendation: Moderate your caffeine intake! I have always discouraged patients from sipping coffee throughout the day because additional coffee can often produce a stimulatory effect and act as a diuretic, washing out vital minerals like magnesium and potassium, as well as B vitamins. Keep intake down to a cup or two a day, preferably in the morning. I have seen too many people get wired, develop hypertension, and irregularly fast heartbeat on just two or three cups a day. Be smart. Drink more water. That’s what your body needs. Not more coffee.
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