Don’t Believe The Bunk: Coffee Can Save Your Life

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Drinking coffee can save your lifeThere has been a great deal of research published regarding the effects of coffee consumption on health. Last week, I commented on a study that found a link between high coffee consumption and increased risk of death in younger men—a study which got a lot of media attention. I stressed the flaws in the study and how this outcome could not be the case and has not been demonstrated anywhere else. And it seems that another study published this week supports my views: that coffee can actually be beneficial for your health.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control, by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, looked at the relationship between the use of coffee and tea and prostate cancer recurrence and progression. The researchers evaluated 1,001 patients aged 35-74 suffering from prostate cancer from 2002-2005. The subjects completed a questionnaire regarding food and beverage intake two years before the diagnosis of prostate cancer and also were interviewed regarding their lifestyle, family history, and medication use. The subjects were followed for over five years to determine if the prostate cancer had progressed or recurred.

Of the original 1,001 participants, 630 provided information regarding their coffee intake. It was discovered that approximately 60% of the men consumed at least one cup of coffee per day and 12% drank four or more cups of coffee per day. The intake of tea did not affect the outcome of prostate cancer progression in this study (at most, the participants consumed one or more cup of tea a day, which is not enough to show any real effect).

Drinking coffee can be beneficial for your health as the study found that men who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had a 59% reduced risk of cancer recurrence or progression compared to the participants who drank at least one cup of coffee per day. Other studies have found the same connection. So what is it about coffee which makes it protective against this type of cancer?

MORE: Another Study Claims Coffee Can Kill—But It’s Flawed, Says Dr. Kevin

The chemicals in the coffee known as polyphenols act as potent free radical scavengers which can protect the cells of the prostate from the damage attributed to cancerous growth, inflammation, and hormonal influences. Coffee polyphenols have been shown to decrease the effect upon certain genes which normally can signal cancer growth in certain cancer cells.

The caffeine contained within the coffee may also have had an effect on cancer growth as caffeine has previously been shown to modify skin, liver, and breast cancer cell growth.

My opinion regarding the consumption of coffee is unchanged. It is safe, healthy, and a great way to enjoy a drink with good company!

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“Four or more cups of coffee a day may keep prostate cancer recurrence and progression away,” ScienceDaily web site, August 26, 2013;
Geybels, M., et al., “Coffee and tea consumption in relation to prostate cancer prognosis,” Cancer Causes & Control. August 2013.
Oleaga, C., et al., “Coffee polyphenols change the expression of STAT5B and ATF-2 modifying cyclin D1 levels in cancer cells,” Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012; 2012: 390385.
Cano-Marquina, A., et al., “The impact of coffee on health,” Maturitas. May 2013; 75(1): 7-21.

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Dr. K.J. McLaughlin, BPE, CSCS, MASc. DC

About the Author, Browse K.J.'s Articles

Dr. K.J.McLaughlin is a chiropractor with 27 years of clinical experience. In addition, he has degrees in physical education, nutrition and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with an interest in anti-aging medicine. He has also spent time studying health promotion and the effect that health education has upon health outcomes. Dr. McLaughlin has a diverse professional background which has involved clinical management, teaching, health promotion and health coaching and brings a unique passion to his work.