Study reveals coffee may boost chances of longer life

The study of almost half-a-million British adults, published yesterday in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, showed that coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers.

For the study, the researchers collected data on more than 500,000 people who took part in a large, long-running British study.

Blood samples and detailed medical histories, including health and lifestyle questions, showed that 33% of people drank between two and three cups of coffee a day. The group studied was 54% female and had an average age of 57.

Overall, coffee drinkers were about 10 percent to 15 percent less likely to die than abstainers during a decade of follow-up.

The study didn't have enough data from people who drink that much coffee, Giovannucci said. But she said the results reinforce previous research and add additional reassurance for coffee drinkers. We all metabolise coffee at different rates, which alters our sensitivity to it, but the data showed that this had no effect on the link between drinking coffee and a longer life. And when all causes of death were combined, even slow caffeine metabolizers had a longevity boost. Coffee drinking was inversely associated with all-cause mortality, that is more coffee a person drank less were the risks of that person dying.

"Coffee makes you happy, it gives you something to look forward to in the morning, " said Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas.

Nonetheless, the new study's findings are a positive for coffee lovers.

Even drinking less than one cup of coffee per day lowers the risk of premature death due by 6 percent, the study found.

Another study of 185,855 multi-ethnic Americans confirmed that result, too.

"Participants drinking four or more cups per day, compared with those drinking less coffee and nondrinkers, were more likely to drink instant coffee and be current smokers, whereas participants drinking one to three cups per day were older, more likely to have a university degree, and more likely to report "excellent" health".

"During the next decade, 14,225 participants died, mostly of cancer or heart disease", the AP reported.

"There has been concern about the health effects of heavy coffee drinking [ 5 cups per day], particularly in participants with common genetic polymorphisms that affect caffeine metabolism", said study authors led by Erikka Loftfield, PhD, MPH, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland. Still, at least one recent study attributed the lower risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke to caffeine, though those researchers still cautioned that overdoing it with caffeine was possible.

"There are many potential beneficial compounds in coffee - there are literally hundreds and thousands of compounds in coffee", he said.

Vanessa Coleman

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