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Coffee and Health

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Drinking coffee may lower the risk of developing the deadliest form of prostate cancer, according to a Harvard Medical School study. In research involving 50,000 men over 20 years, scientists led by Kathryn Wilson at Harvard's Channing Laboratory found that the 5 percent of men who drank 6 or more cups a day had a 60 percent lower risk of developing the advanced form of the disease than those who didn't consume any. The risk was about 20 percent lower for the men who drank 1 to 3 cups a day, and 25 percent lower for those consuming 4 or 5 cups.
The study is the first to associate coffee with prostate cancer, contradicting previous research that's found no link. The difference may be because Wilson and colleagues looked for the first time at the link between coffee and different stages of the disease, instead of grouping them all together. More research is needed to confirm the findings, she said.
"People shouldn't start changing their coffee consumption based on one study," Wilson said in a phone interview on Dec. 5. "It could be chance, and we really need to see whether it pans out in other studies."
Prostate cancer struck almost 200,000 men in the U.S. this year and killed more than 27,000, making it the second-deadliest malignancy among American men after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. About 54 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee, according to the New York-based National Coffee Association.

Multiple Components
The researchers aren't sure which of the many components of coffee is responsible for the effect, though it probably isn't caffeine because the same association was seen for decaffeinated coffee, Wilson said. The link wasn't seen in patients with an earlier stage of prostate cancer, she said. Coffee lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes by increasing the body's ability to use insulin to convert blood sugar to energy, previous research has shown.
Higher insulin levels have also been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, suggesting the hormone may be the link between coffee and the disease, Wilson said.
The data were presented at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Houston.
To contact the reporter on this story: Simeon Bennett in Singapore at sbennett9@bloomberg.net Last Updated: December 8, 2009 01:21 EST


Wed Oct 21, 7:12 pm ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Researchers in the United States have found another good reason to go to the local espresso bar: several cups of coffee a day could halt the progression of liver disease, a study showed Wednesday.
Sufferers of chronic hepatitis C and advanced liver disease who drank three or more cups of coffee per day slashed their risk of the disease progressing by 53 percent compared to patients who drank no coffee, the study led by Neal Freedman of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) showed. For the study, 766 participants enrolled in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) trial -- all of whom had hepatitis C which had not responded to treatment with anti-viral drugs -- were asked to report how many cups of coffee they drank every day. The patients were seen every three months during the 3.8-year study and liver biopsies were taken at 1.5 and 3.5 five years to determine the progression of liver disease.
"We observed an inverse association between coffee intake and liver disease progression," meaning patients who drank three or more cups of java were less likely to see their liver disease worsen than non-drinkers, wrote the authors of the study, which will be published in the November issue of Hepatology. The researchers put forward several ways in which coffee intake might protect against liver disease, including by reducing the risk of type two diabetes, which has been associated with liver illness; or by reducing inflammation, which is thought to cause fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Even caffeine, the chemical that gives a cup of coffee its oomph, came under the spotlight, having been found in previous studies to inhibit liver cancer in rats.
But drinking black or green tea, which also contain caffeine, had little impact on the progression of liver disease, although there were few tea drinkers in the study.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) three to four million people contract hepatitis C each year. Seventy percent of cases become chronic and can cause cirrhosis or liver cancer.

In recent decades, more than 19,000 studies have been done examining the impact of coffee. Overall, research has shown that coffee is more helpful than harmful. Some of these studies include the Annals of Internal Medicine research on diabetes and the University of Bristol's study on cognitive mood.

In the November 2008 issue of Oprah's O Magazine in an article called "Small Changes, Big Results" it is reccomended that you drink filtered coffee. According to the article "A growing body of evidence is linking unfiltered coffee to higher levels of both LDL and total cholesterol." "Filters can catch surface oils, I learned the hard way that gold filters do very little. Paper filters are far mor effective." says Nancy Snyderman, MD, cheif medical editor at NBC.

An NBC report said that some studies show drinking less than 24oz of coffee per day decreases bladder and colon cancer because of its ability to keep the body regular.

Health reports in The Daily Check Up found that coffee does not cause heart disease.

The Harvard School of Public Health and the Annals of Internal Medicine found that coffee reduces the risk of diabetes by 30 percent in women and by 50 percent for men.

The Coffee Science Information Center found that the caffeine in coffee stimulates and improves alertness in the brain by providing a mild stimulant to the central nervous system.

In the past 30 years, nine studies have shown that regular coffee consumption over time may reduce the risk of Parkinson's Disease. (The Coffee Science Information Center)

Recently published research in the American Journal of Epidemiology found "neither caffeinated nor decaffeinated coffee was associated with the risk of myocardial infarction"— even for those drinking more than four cups of coffee a day. (The Coffee Science Information Center)

WebMD Health stated that two cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of cirrhosis by 80 percent. Cirrhosis is irreversible scarring an degeneration of liver tissue that interferes with blood flow.

Recently published research in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that drinking two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day reduced the risk of developing gallstones among men by 40 percent. For those who drink four or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day, the risk of developing gallstones was reduced by 45 percent. (The Coffee Science Information Center)

Two studies conducted in the United States and Italy found that the caffeine in coffee helps to treat asthma and headaches. (Many modern headache medicines contain the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.)

Some studies have shown that coffee contains four times as many cancer fighting anti-oxidants than green tea. These anti-oxidants increase sensitivity to insulin, which will improve the body's response to it. (The Coffee Review.)