Various studies in North America, Europe, and Asia have shown consistently that coffee drinking reduces mortality, including deaths from cardiovascular disease and some cancers. However, for some people who are sensitive to caffeine, coffee drinking can cause unpleasant side effects such as jittery, heart palpitation, anxiety and nervousness. Therefore, there are concerns about coffee’s health benefit, particularly among people with caffeine sensitivity, and among those drinking more than 5 cups per day.
The UK Biobank is a population-based study that invited approximately 9.2 million individuals from across the United Kingdom to participate. The researchers used baseline demographic, lifestyle, and genetic data from the UK Biobank population, with follow-up beginning in 2006 and ending in 2016, to study the relationship between coffee intake and mortality. As part of this study, the researchers especially noted the potential effect of genes that are known to modify caffeine metabolisms in the body and causes caffeine sensitivities. Of the 502,641 participants who consented with baseline data, the researchers included those who were not pregnant and had complete data on coffee intake and smoking status, which results in 498,134 volunteers to be included in the study.
The mean age of the participants was 57 years (range, 38-73 years); 271,019 (54%) were female, and 387,494 (78%) were coffee drinkers. Over 10 years of follow-up, 14 225 deaths occurred. Coffee drinking was inversely associated with all-cause mortality. Using non–coffee drinkers as the reference group, Hazardous Ratios (HR, meaning the ratio between drinking and death) for drinking less than 1, 1, 2 to 3, 4 to 5, 6 to 7, and 8 or more cups per day were 0.94 (95% CI, 0.88-1.01), 0.92 (95% CI, 0.87-0.97), 0.88 (95% CI, 0.84-0.93), 0.88 (95% CI, 0.83-0.93), 0.84 (95% CI, 0.77-0.92), and 0.86 (95% CI, 0.77-0.95), respectively – meaning the more coffee you drink, the less likely you will die.
The researchers concluded that coffee drinking reduces mortality, including among participants drinking 1 up to 8 or more cups per day. The reduction of mortality seems to be proportional to the amount of coffee consumed. In addition, the researchers noted that there were no differences observed in caffeine sensitive population. This study provides further evidence that coffee drinking can be part of a healthy diet and offers reassurance to coffee drinkers.
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: Erikka Loftfield; Marilyn C. Cornelis; Neil Caporaso, Association of Coffee Drinking With Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine Metabolism, JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 2, 2018. Doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.2425
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