Coffee positively associated with life expectancy
According to a large prospective cohort study(1), published in the New England Journal of Medicine, coffee consumption is inversely associated with both total and cause-specific mortality, when smoking and other confounders are taken into account, and this relationship is dose-dependent. Dr. Neal Freedman and his team, from the National Institutes of Health in the US, found that men who drank 6 or more cups of coffee per day had a 10% lower risk of death than those who did not drink coffee over the 14 year follow-up period. In women, those who drank 6 or more cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of death than non-coffee drinkers. There was no difference in risk of death between participants who drank caffeinated coffee and those drank decaffeinated coffee. These data are in line with results from the Health Professionals Follow up study and Nurses Health study, where six or more cups of coffee per day were associated with 20% and 17 % lower risk respectively (2) .
Freedman and colleagues analysed data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – AARP Diet and Health Study to determine whether coffee consumption is associated with total or cause-specific mortality. The cohort included 229,119 men and 173,141 women. Participants recorded their frequency of coffee consumption at the start of the study, as well as the type of coffee they drank (caffeinated or decaffeinated). The authors obtained specific causes of death from the National Center for Health Statistics.
The current analysis, involving more than 400000 persons and 52000 deaths, had ample power to detect even modest associations. As well as being at lower risk of death overall, regular coffee drinkers were also at lower risk of deaths from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections, but not for deaths due to cancer where coffee consumption had no effect.
The authors conclude: “Our results show inverse associations between coffee drinking and most major causes of death. Whether this is a causal or associational finding cannot be determined from our data. However, it provides reassurance with respect to the concern that coffee drinking might adversely affect health.”
1. Freedman ND et al (2012). Association of coffee drinking and total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J Med; 366:1891-904.
2. Lopez-Garcia E et al (2008).The relationship of coffee consumption with mortality. Ann Intern Med 148:904-14