Symposium highlights coffees cardiovascular benefits

Symposium highlights coffee's cardiovascular benefits

Life Extension Update

Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Findings from studies presented at a Satellite Symposium on Coffee and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality held on May 14, 2015 during the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation's 2015 Congress in Lisbon add evidence to an association between drinking coffee and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and related mortality. The presentations, by researchers Esther Lopez-Garcia, Alicja Wolk and Carlo La Vecchia, were summarized by the not-for-profit Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee in a publication titled "Coffee & Health."

Most notable were the results of a meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Epidemiology last year which concluded that, compared to not drinking coffee, consuming three cups per day was associated with up to a 21% reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease among 997,464 subjects. For all-cause mortality, the greatest protective effect was found in association with four cups daily. Another meta-analysis published in 2014, which appeared in the journal Circulation, suggests that an optimal amount for protection against cardiovascular disease is three cups per day.

In the European Journal of Epidemiology, a meta-analysis that included over a million subjects found that three to five cups of coffee per day was associated with the most significant benefit. When the study-specific highest category of coffee drinking was compared with the lowest (defined as no more than one cup of coffee per day), a 12% lower risk of all cause mortality was determined, based on data from all 23 included studies. For cardiovascular mortality, those in the highest coffee drinking category experienced an 11% lower risk as calculated among 17 studies adjusted for smoking.

Coffee drinking has also been associated with protection against diabetes, which significantly increases cardiovascular disease risk. A 25% lower risk of type 2 diabetes was associated with drinking three to four cups of coffee per day in comparison with lesser amounts in a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Protective mechanisms for coffee against the risk of cardiovascular mortality remain uncertain; however, the beverage's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are likely to play a role. "It is important to acknowledge factors which might have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease mortality," commented Doutor António Vaz Carneiro of the Faculdade de Medicine da Universidade de Lisboa. "Moderate coffee consumption could play a significant role in reducing cardiovascular disease mortality risk which would impact health outcomes and healthcare spending across Europe."

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The journal Diabetologia recently published the finding of Harvard researchers of a reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among men and women who increased their daily intake of coffee.

For the current study, Drs Frank Hu and Shilpa Bhupathiraju of Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition and their associates utilized data from 48,464 participants in the Nurses' Health Study, 47,510 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study II, and 27,759 men who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Dietary questionnaire responses provided by the subjects every four years for two decades or more were analyzed for the intake of regular and decaffeinated coffee.

Over the studies' follow-up period, 7,269 men and women were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Among those who increased their coffee intake by one cup or more per day over four years, the risk of diabetes over the following four year period was reduced by 11% in comparison with those whose intake remained unchanged. Decreasing coffee by a cup or more was associated with a 17% greater risk of developing the disease. Drinking at least three cups of coffee per day was associated with a 37% lower risk than consuming one or fewer cups daily.

The authors observe that "These changes in risk were observed for caffeinated, but not decaffeinated coffee, and were independent of initial coffee consumption and 4-year changes in other dietary and lifestyle factors."

"Changes in coffee consumption habits appear to affect diabetes risk in a relatively short amount of time," they write. "Our findings confirm those of prospective studies that higher coffee consumption is associated with a lower type 2 diabetes risk and provide novel evidence that changes in coffee consumption habits are related to diabetes risk."

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