A Dose of Java A Day
Coffee tied to lower prostate cancer risk in new study: How much did guys gulp?
Can sipping coffee give prostate cancer the slip?
Men who regularly drink coffee - caffeinated or decaf - are significantly less likely to develop a deadly form of the disease, according to a study published online in the May 17 issue of the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute."
Harvard researchers looked at the incidence of prostate cancer in a group of almost 48,000 American men who reported their coffee consumption every four years from 1986 to 2008, according to a written statement released in conjunction with the study.
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• The first European coffee was sold in pharmacies in 1615 as a medical remedy.
• Wild medical contraptions used to exist to administer a mixture of coffee, heated butter, honey and oil to treat the sick.
• For reducing wrinkles and improving their skin, the Japanese have been known to bathe in coffee grounds fermented with pineapple pulp.
• Regular coffee drinkers have about 1/3 less asthma symptoms than those of non-coffee drinkers according to a Harvard researcher who studied 20,000 people.
• Coffee provides more Cancer-fighting antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the American diet. (Joe A. Vinson, University of Scranton)
• Two to four cups of coffee a day may lower the risk of liver disease, Cancer, Clogged Arteries, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and Diabetes. (N.Y.Academy of Sciences).
Drink Coffee and Exercise
According to this recent study drinking coffee before a work out can actually help lessen the pain of athletic exertion.
In the study when the 25 men were given caffeine before their intense cycling workout they experienced less muscle soreness. The study was conducted by Robert W. Motl, a professor of kinesiology & community health at the University of Illinois. His report is published in the April issue of International Journal of Sports Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism.
Coffee Beans May Be Newest Stress-Buster
By Ed Edelson, HealthDay Reporter - Fri Jun 13, 8:47 PM PDT
FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Just sniffing that first hot cup of coffee in the morning may help ease some stresses you might be feeling, a South Korean trial indicates.
When rats inhaled the aroma of roasted coffee beans, a number of genes were activated, including some that produce proteins with healthful antioxidant activity, the researchers reported.
"The meaning of it is not totally clear yet," said Dr. Peter R. Martin, director of the Institute of Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University. "What it does show is that coffee smells do change the brain to some degree, and it behooves us to understand why that is happening."
The findings, from a team led by Han-Seok Seo at Seoul National University in South Korea, were expected to be published in the June 25 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The experiment was done with laboratory rats, some of whom were stressed by being deprived of sleep. The researchers did detailed genetic studies that showed the activity of 11 genes was increased and the activity of two genes was decreased in the rats that smelled the coffee, compared to those who did not. In effect, the aroma of the coffee beans helped ease the stress of the sleep-deprived rodents.
The experiment provides "for the first time, clues to the potential antioxidant or stress-relaxation activities of the coffee bean aroma," the researchers wrote.
And they added, "These results indirectly explain why so many people use coffee for staying up all night, although the volatile compounds of coffee beans are not fully consistent with those of the coffee extracts. In other words, the stress caused by sleep loss via caffeine may be alleviated through smelling the coffee aroma."
"They used the latest in technology to see how brain expression of RNA changed," Martin said. RNA is the molecule that carries out the instructions encoded in genes. "This is just the beginning of a very interesting line of investigation," he added.
The aromatic compounds responsible for coffee's odor may be antioxidants, "but they are not the same as the major antioxidants that are in the drink," said Joe A. Vinson, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Chemically, the antioxidants in liquid coffee are polyphenols, Vinson said. Those in the aroma are heterocycle compounds containing sulfur or nitrogen atoms.
"There are two ways to get things into your system, and the quickest way is to smell them," Vinson said. "Caffeine gets into the brain via the blood stream. Here, aromatic molecules get into the brain through the olfactory system. The levels in the air are parts per million, so obviously these are minor components in the air. But they are doing something."
Previous studies have shown that coffee consumption can reduce depression and suicide risk, as well as relieve stress, effects generally attributed to the caffeine in coffee, the researchers noted. But while some 900 compounds that float away from the bean have been identified, this is the first study to assay their possible effects, they added.
It's too early to recommend that people feeling stress sniff coffee to ease their way, Martin said. But, he added, "people who don't even drink coffee are fascinated by the odor of it. Ever since my little boy was two years old, he has loved the odor of coffee. I have always thought that coffee has some mystic quality, and there is some deep historical basis for it."
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
For women, especially, the brew could boost heart health, study finds
By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) - Good news for coffee lovers: Drinking up to six cups a day of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee daily won't shorten your life span, a new study shows.
In fact, coffee might even help the heart, especially for women, the researchers found.
"Our results suggest that long-term, regular coffee consumption does not increase the risk of death and probably has several beneficial effects on health," said lead researcher Dr. Esther Lopez-Garcia, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Autonoma University in Madrid, Spain.
Her team published its findings in the June 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Lopez-Garcia stressed that the findings may only hold true only for healthy folk. "People with any disease or condition should ask their doctor about their risk, because caffeine still has an acute effect on short-term increase of blood pressure," she said.
In the study, the Spanish team looked at the relationships between coffee drinking and the risks of dying from heart disease, cancer, or any cause in almost 42,000 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and more than 84,000 women who had participated in the Nurses' Health Study. At the study start, all participants were free of heart disease and cancer.
The participants completed questionnaires every two to four years, including information about their coffee drinking, other dietary habits, smoking and health conditions. The research team looked at the frequency of death from any cause, death due to heart disease, and death due to cancer among people with different coffee-drinking habits, comparing them to those who didn't drink the brew. They also controlled for other risk factors, including diet, smoking and body size.
The researchers found that women who drank two or three cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease during the follow-up (from 1980 to 2004) than non-drinkers. Women also had an 18 percent lower death risk from a cause other than cancer or heart disease compared with non-coffee drinkers.
For men, drinking two to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily was a "wash" -- not associated with either an increased or a decreased risk of death during the follow up, from 1986 to 2004.
The lower death rate was mainly due to a lower risk for heart disease deaths, the researchers found, while no link was discovered for coffee drinking and cancer deaths. The relationship did not seem to be directly related to caffeine, according to the researchers, since those who drank decaf also had a lower death rate than those who didn't drink either kind of coffee.
In the past, studies have come up with mixed results on the health effects of coffee, with some finding coffee increased the risk of death and others not.
More recently, research has found coffee drinking linked with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers, and preventing the development of cardiovascular disease, Lopez-Garcia said.
The strength of her current study, she said, includes the large number of participants and long follow-up period.
While the study is interesting, it does have its shortcomings, said Dr. Peter Galier, an internal medicine specialist, former chief of staff at Santa Monica UCLA and Orthopedic Hospital and associate professor of medicine at the University of California Los Angeles' David Geffen School of Medicine.
Self-reporting is one shortcoming, he said, because people may have under- or over-reported their coffee consumption, for instance.
"I think what this study tells us is not so much that coffee is the answer to everything," he said. But, rather, that some compounds, such as the antioxidants found in coffee, may be healthy.
Galier's advice for consumers: "I would tell them to weigh the subjective risk of their coffee consumption," he said. For instance, "if they love coffee, but it makes them jittery, and they can't sleep, the need to adjust it," he said. "Look at your symptoms," he tells patients. "If decaf is no problem, I wouldn't put a limit on that."
The research was funded by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.