Fresh grounds for coffee: Study shows it may boost longevity

A cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles. A 10-year study released on Monday, July 2, 2018 shows that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of death than abstainers, including those who downed at least eight cups daily. The benefit was seen with instant, ground, decaf, and in people with genetic glitches affecting how their bodies use caffeine. | Associated Press photo by Richard Vogel, St. George News

CHICAGO (AP) — Go ahead and have that cup of coffee, maybe even several more. New research shows it may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily.

In a study of nearly half-a-million British adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers.

The apparent longevity boost was seen with instant, ground and decaffeinated, results that echo U.S. research. It’s the first large study to suggest a benefit even in people with genetic glitches affecting how their bodies use caffeine.

Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas carries two glasses of iced coffee, responds to a question about new research showing that drinking coffee may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily, July 2, 2018, Chicago | Associated Press photo by Charles Rex Arbogast, St. George News

Overall, coffee drinkers were about 10 percent to 15 percent less likely to die than abstainers during a decade of follow-up. Differences by amount of coffee consumed and genetic variations were minimal.

The results don’t prove your coffee pot is a fountain of youth nor are they a reason for abstainers to start drinking coffee, said Alice Lichtenstein, a Tufts University nutrition expert who was not involved in the research. But she said the results reinforce previous research and add additional reassurance for coffee drinkers.

“It’s hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us. Or at least not be bad,” Lichtenstein said.

The study was published July 2 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

It’s not clear exactly how drinking coffee might affect longevity. Lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, said coffee contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage.

Other studies have suggested that substances in coffee may reduce inflammation and improve how the body uses insulin, which can reduce chances for developing diabetes. Loftfield said efforts to explain the potential longevity benefit are continuing.

Adam Taylor, fetching two iced coffees for friends in downtown Chicago, said the study results make sense.

“Coffee makes you happy, it gives you something to look forward to in the morning,” said Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas.

“I try to have just one cup daily,” Taylor said. “Otherwise I get a little hyper.”

For the study, researchers invited 9 million British adults to take part; 498,134 women and men aged 40 to 69 agreed. The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general U.K. population, the researchers said.

Participants filled out questionnaires about daily coffee consumption, exercise and other habits, and received physical exams including blood tests. Most were coffee drinkers; 154,000 or almost one-third drank two to three cups daily and 10,000 drank at least eight cups daily.

During the next decade, 14,225 participants died, mostly of cancer or heart disease.

Caffeine can cause short-term increases in blood pressure, and some smaller studies have suggested that it might be linked with high blood pressure, especially in people with a genetic variation that causes them to metabolize caffeine slowly.

But coffee drinkers in the U.K. study didn’t have higher risks than nondrinkers of dying from heart disease and other blood pressure-related causes. And when all causes of death were combined, even slow caffeine metabolizers had a longevity boost.

As in previous studies, coffee drinkers were more likely than abstainers to drink alcohol and smoke, but the researchers took those factors into account, and coffee drinking seemed to cancel them out.

The research didn’t include whether participants drank coffee black or with cream and sugar. But Lichtenstein said loading coffee with extra fat and calories isn’t healthy.

Written by LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • comments July 4, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    It sounds like a total load of BS–like one of the sloppiest-seeming “medical studies” I’ve heard about. I enjoy coffee sometimes, but i always doll it up with lots of milk and sugar. Really not a fan of it otherwise.

    • Striker4 July 4, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Is that your Mormon opinion Prophet ?

    • An actual Independent July 6, 2018 at 10:52 am

      Published, peer reviewed studies in both the UK and US, getting the same result. But if it sounds wrong to you, we can all just disregard.

  • ladybugavenger July 4, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    I didnt need permission to drink my coffee daily, or all day lol ,but thank you!
    I’m putting cream in it tho!

  • DB July 4, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    We’ve been having this argument since I was in grade school and I’m pretty old. Imagine me with my hands covering my ears, humming loudly. In other words, I’m not listening anymore.

  • Mike P July 5, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I’ve been drinking coffee for 45 years. Two giant mugs every morning, black, sometimes with creamer. I remember all the “laboratory tests” of the 70’s-80’s trying to find something, ANYTHING wrong with coffee. And, It’s just not there folks. Even caffeine’s not bad. So enjoy !

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