Results of a large prospective study on the health effects of coffee have significantly amplified the social buzz about America’s favorite morning beverage. The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, are somewhat contrary to popular beliefs about drinking multiple cups of coffee a day.
Based on data collected by the National Institutes of Health on the coffee-drinking habits of more than 400,000 men and women, the report found that frequent coffee drinkers have a lower risk of dying of a variety of diseases, compared with people who drink little or no coffee.
In fact, inverse associations were observed for deaths as a result of heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, and infections.
The good news is making headlines in media of all forms and you’re likely to get questions from your patients.
• How strong was the association between amount of coffee consumed and a decreased risk of mortality? Was it stronger for some causes of death than for others?
• What other lifestyle habits were associated with coffee consumption that may have had an effect on the results?
• What components in coffee might be responsible for apparent salutary effects on the body and particularly on the cardiovascular and endocrine systems?
Here to put this issue into perspective are Drs Christopher Cannon and Payal Kohli. Dr Cannon, a senior investigator with the TIMI Study Group, is Editor-in-Chief of Cardiosource Science and Quality. He is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Associate Physician in the Cardiovascular Division of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr Kohli graduated from Harvard Medical School, completed her internal medicine training in Boston and is currently a fellow in cardiovascular medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
Coffee Consumption Linked to Longevity
Freedman ND, Park Y, Abnet CC, et al. Association of coffee drinking with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J Med. 2012;366:1891-1904.