Coffee and Longevity

This story hit the news like wildfire last week.  It was in at least 9 of the professional newsletter I receive plus world news, and other resources. If you missed it here are the details.

Medscape.com covered this story well. It said “higher coffee intake is linked to significantly lower risk for death, two large studies confirmed. The benefit was found in diverse European populations, as well as across different racial/ethnic groups, researchers report in articles published online today (July 10, 2017) in the Annals of Internal Medicine.”

Mounting evidence for the health and mortality benefits of coffee consumption, the relationship between coffee intake and mortality in different European populations in which coffee preparation methods vary has been unclear. Similarity, data on coffee drinking among nonwhite populations were lacking.

The EPIC (European Prospective Investigations into Cancer and Nutrition), a large prospective cohort study, Marc J. Gunter, PhD, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France, and colleagues examined the association of coffee intake with all-cause and cause-specific mortality among 451,743 participants (130,662 men and 321,081 women) in 10 European countries.

Their “results suggest that higher levels of coffee drinking are associated with lower risk for death from various causes, specifically digestive and circulatory diseases,” the authors write.

In a multivariable model, men who drank three or more cups of coffee per day had a 12% lower all-cause mortality than non-coffee drinkers and women had a 7% lower mortality.

The authors also found a significant increase in risk for ovarian cancer mortality.

The mortality benefit was the same for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, the authors added. They emphasize that the need to interpret these findings with caution because not all EPiC centers collected data on decaffeinated coffee intake.

In the MEC (Multiethnic Cohort), a prospective population-based cohort study that enrolled 185,855 African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Latinos, and whites, Song-Yi Park, PhD, from the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, and colleagues investigated the association of coffee intake with risk for total and cause-specific mortality across multiple races.

During the mean follow-up of 16.2 years, 58,397 deaths occurred.

They found that higher coffee intake was associated with lower risk for all-cause death and death from heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease.

They emphasize that the consistent findings in these two studies of an inverse relationship between coffee intake and risk for death across populations from different countries, as well as across the racial/ethnic spectrum, further contribute to generalized of the mortality benefit of coffee.

Nevertheless, the editorialists note that coffee consumption is a complex phenomenon and that coffee contains various substances, including bioactive compounds. As a consequence, the health and mortality benefits of coffee may depend on components other than caffeine, they say.

It would be premature to recommend coffee intake to reduce mortality or prevent chronic disease, the editorialists added. “However, it is increasingly evident that moderate coffee intake up to 3 to 5 cups per day, or caffeine intake up to 400 mg/d, is not associated with adverse health effects in adults and can be incorporated into a healthy diet, they conclude.

The EPIC study was supported by grants from European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Dr. Beulens has received grants from Unilever R&D and FrieslandCampina outside the submitted work, and Dr. Butterworth has received grants from Biogen, Merck, and Pfizer outside the submitted work. The MEC study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. The remaining authors from both studies and the editorialists have reported no relevant financial relationships.