Life Extension Magazine®

Man making coffee that may reduce risk of DNA damage

Coffee Protects Against DNA Damage

DNA damage contributes to accelerated aging. A recent study suggests that coffee reduces DNA damage by 23% in people.

Scientifically reviewed by:  Andrew Roberts Jr., MPH in Global Health, MS in Medical Health, in August 2023. Written by: Karen Jaffe.

DNA damage contributes to accelerated aging.1

There are many causes of damage to DNA, from normal metabolic processes to external factors like exposure to UV light or radiation.

As we age, the damage accumulates, leading to further, more rapid aging of organs and tissues.

Common disorders with links to DNA damage include cardiovascular disease, diabetesinflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diseases and cancer.2-11

A recent study discovered that coffee protects our DNA, the thin stretches of genetic material packed into virtually every cell in the body.

In the trial, published in late 2018, coffee reduced DNA damage by a significant 23%.12

This new study adds to growing evidence recommending consumption of 2-4 cups of coffee daily to help protect against a host of age-related disorders.

What the Scientists Studied

In the study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers reported on a single-blind, randomized, controlled trial examining the effects of moderate coffee consumption on DNA damage in 100 adult coffee drinkers.12

All enrolled subjects underwent an initial four-week “preconditioning” period, when coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages were excluded from the diet.

During the following four weeks, subjects were randomly assigned either to a coffee or a warm water consumption group. All participants consumed 500 ml (about four 4-ounce cups) of their assigned beverage daily.

Blood specimens were analyzed for evidence of DNA damage at the end of the preconditioning period, and again at the end of the test period.

What the Study Showed

At the end of the study, DNA damage (measured by the amount of broken DNA strands) was reduced by 23% from the start in the coffee group, but remained unchanged in the water control subjects.12

This was true even though the mean level of damage at the start of the study was 16% greater in the coffee group.12

When changes from baseline were analyzed, DNA strand breaks were reduced by 26% in women and by 20% in men, hinting at some biological variability.12

More Good News on Coffee

Until recently, coffee was generally considered a “vice” drink, and lumped in with cigarette smoking and alcohol use as having negative health effects—especially on the heart and circulatory system.

As this Research Update shows, however, we’re now finding more and more reasons to celebrate—and consume—coffee as part of a normal day’s activities.

A study presented at the British Cardiovascular Society’s annual conference in Manchester, UK, and funded in part by the British Heart Foundation was led by researcher Kenneth Fung.13

Fung’s group studied 8,412 people in the UK, in search of evidence that coffee drinking—especially very high consumption—contributes to arterial stiffening.

When the UK researchers divided their study subjects into three groups, according to daily coffee consumption (less than one, 1-3, and more than 3 cups/day), they found that even in those who consumed five cups of coffee per day—and as many as 25 cups per day!—daily coffee consumption did not increase arterial stiffness compared to coffee abstainers.13

In the words of Metin Avkiran, professor and associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, this result “rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries.”13


DNA damage is known to contribute to age-associated disorders.

Coffee consumption has been linked to a reduction in the risk and severity of many of these diseases.

Now, it has been shown that moderate coffee consumption reduces the amount of DNA damage in men and women, providing insight into another mechanism that links coffee drinking to healthier outcomes.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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  13. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2019.