Coffee & Health

Coffee & Health reveals new caffeine topic and vodcast

December 18, 2013

The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) has unveiled the latest topic on its Coffee & Health website: “All About Caffeine”, accompanied by a vodcast.

The new section provides information about caffeine, its origins, its links with coffee, recommended levels of intake and the effects of caffeine on various aspects of health; from alertness to sports performance to neurodegenerative diseases.

Caffeine is one of the most widely studied components of the human diet, with extensive research drawing conclusions between caffeine consumption and a wide range of health effects.

Information outlined in the new topic includes:

  • Moderate caffeine consumption, of up to 400 mg caffeine or the equivalent of up to 5 cups of coffee per day, can be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced diet and an active lifestyle1.
  • Intake should be decreased in pregnant women who are advised not to go over a daily intake of 200-300 mg of caffeine from all sources2.
  • When taken in moderate amounts, caffeine has mostly positive effects, mainly on alertness3, well-being and both mental and physical endurance4 performance.
  • Caffeine is a mild central nervous stimulant and lifelong caffeine consumption may decrease the risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s Disease5,6 and Parkinson’s Disease7.
  • Caffeine does not seem to have significant adverse effects on cardiovascular function8.
  • It has been shown that caffeine does not lead to dehydration9 or to significantly affect bone health10 or gastro-intestinal functions11.

For more information about caffeine, please click here.

Ask the expert – new vodcast

Alongside the new topic, ISIC has launched a vodcast on caffeine, in which Dr Astrid Nehlig, Research Director from the French National Medical Research Institute (INSERM) joins Dr Trisha Macnair, hospital physician and health journalist, to discuss commonly asked questions and existing research on coffee, caffeine and health.

Dr Nehlig comments “Caffeine is found in some 60 plant species including cocoa, mate, guarana, tea and coffee. As such it is naturally present in products such as coffee, tea and chocolate. It is a mild central nervous system stimulant and therefore it has some implications for health, such as increased alertness and improved physical performance. Whilst there are no European guidelines for caffeine intake in the general population at present, most people consume a level that they are comfortable with and based on the research that has been done, most people should continue to enjoy their daily cups of coffee”

To view the vodcast click here.


  1. Fredholm B.B. et al. (1999). Actions of caffeine in the brain with special reference to factors that contribute to its widespread use. Pharmacol Rev, 51:83-133.
  2. Scientific Committee for Food. Report of the Scientific Committee for Food on Caffeine.
  3. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2011). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increased fat oxidation leading to a reduction in body fat mass (ID 735, 1484), increased energy expenditure leading to a reduction in body weight (ID 1487), increased alertness (ID 736, 1101, 1187, 1485, 1491, 2063, 2103) and increased attention (ID 736, 1485, 1491, 2375) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. EFSA Journal; 9(4): 2054.
  4. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2011). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increase in physical performance during short-term high-intensity exercise (ID 737, 1486, 1489), increase in endurance performance (ID 737, 1486), increase in endurance capacity (ID 1488) and reduction in the rated perceived exertion/effort during exercise (ID 1488, 1490) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal; 9(4): 2053 [24 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2053.
  5. Arendash G.W. et al. (2006). Caffeine protects Alzheimer’s mice against cognitive impairment and reduces brain beta-amyloid production. Neuroscience, 142(4): 941-52.
  6. Cao C. et al. (2009), Caffeine suppresses amyloid-beta levels in plasma and brain of Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice. J Alzheimers Dis, 17(3): 681-97.
  7. Costa J. et al. (2010). Caffeine exposure and the risk of Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. J Alzheimers Dis, 20 Suppl 1: S221-38.
  8. Wu J.N. et al. (2009). Coffee consumption and risk of coronary heart diseases: a meta-analysis of 21 prospective cohort studies. Int J Cardiol, 137(3): 216-25.
  9. Ruxton C.H.S. (2008). The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks. Nutr Bull, 33: 15–25.
  10. Heaney R.P. (2002). Effects of caffeine on bone and the calcium economy. Food Chem Toxicol, 40: 1263-70.
  11. Boekema P.J. et al. (2001). Functional bowel symptoms in a general Dutch population and associations with common stimulants. Netherlands J Med, 59(1): 23-30.

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