Living Longer with Java

Coffee drinkers outliving their peers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Coffee lovers can rejoice. That daily cup of java you enjoy in the morning may actually be doing your body a favor. A study suggests that coffee drinkers tend to live longer than those who don't drink the popular beverage.

The large prospective study determined that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from any cause, though the exact reason wasn't clear.

"Add a cup of coffee to your daily routine."

Neal D. Freedman, PhD, a study author from the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute, initiated the study to determine how coffee drinking might impact an individual's risk of dying.

Researchers analyzed mortality rates among 229,119 men and 173,141 women who participated in the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study.

Participants were between the ages of 50 and 71 at the beginning of the study and were free of cancer, heart disease and stroke. Coffee consumption was analyzed at the beginning of the research.

The participants were followed between 1995 and 2008. During that period 33,731 men and 18,784 women died.

After adjustments, including for smoking -- since investigators found coffee drinkers were more likely to smoke cigarettes -- they found that coffee drinkers had a tendency to live longer.

Women who drank more than six cups of coffee a day had a 15 percent lower risk of dying, while men drinking the same amount were 10 percent less likely to die.

A single cup a day was linked to a 5 percent reduced risk of dying in women compared to 6 percent in men. Individuals that drank two to five daily cups received a longevity benefit that fell between the two groups.

The findings were also similar when analyzed by sub-groups, such as in individuals with heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, infections, or injuries or accidents.

Drinking coffee was not found to offer protection from dying of cancer.

Researchers were unable to determine whether the relationship between drinking coffee and longevity was causal, meaning additional studies will be needed.

The study, funded by Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Review Date: 
May 17, 2012
Last Updated:
July 26, 2012