Daily consumption of at least six cups of coffee may reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), suggests a new study. The researchers found that consuming more than 900ml of coffee may offer up a 30% reduced risk.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and the University of California, Berkeley, reviewed two studies.
‘Caffeine is substance present in coffee, which has neuroprotective properties. It suppresses inflammatory responses in the body and stimulate the central nervous system.’
The first study conducted in Sweden involved 1,620 adults with MS and a control group of 2,788 people without MS. The second was a US study which involved 1,159 people with MS and 1,172 healthy people.
The participants in both the studies were asked about their coffee consumption and how long they had been drinking coffee for. The researchers estimated the coffee intake at and before the onset of MS symptoms in those who developed the disease and compared with the healthy groups.
The researchers found that the risk of MS was consistently higher among people who drank fewer cups of coffee a day in both studies, even after considering other factors that might influence the results.
The results of the Swedish study showed that coffee consumption was linked to a lower risk of MS both at the start of the symptoms and five and ten years beforehand. The study participants who drank more than six small cups (more than 900ml) every day showed 28% to 30% lower risk compared with non-coffee drinkers.
The US study also showed similar results, 26% to 31% lower risk among those who drank more than 948ml of coffee each day, at least, five years beforehand and at the start of symptoms.
The authors stressed that theirs was an observational study, and no firm conclusions could be drawn about the cause and effect. The study was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
"Lower odds of MS with increasing consumption of coffee were observed, regardless of whether coffee consumption at disease onset or five or 10 years prior to disease onset was considered. In accordance with studies in animal models of MS, high consumption of coffee may decrease the risk of developing MS," the authors concluded.