Drinking too much coffee increases risk of death by more than 50 percent in people under 55: Study

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: coffee consumption, mortality risk, beverages

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(NaturalNews) It is a common ritual that millions of people across the globe engage in daily, but drinking cup after cup of coffee in the morning and throughout your workday to stay motivated and energized could be killing you. A new study recently published in the journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, found that people under age 55 who consume at least 28 cups of coffee per week, or about four cups per day, have a more than 50 percent increased risk of dying from all causes compared to their non-coffee-addicted peers.

These are the shocking findings of a comprehensive, large-scale research project recently put together by a multi-site collaborative research team, which carefully parsed data gathered from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS) cohort. Nearly 45,000 men and women participated in this massive study, which was conducted between the years of 1979 and 1998, and each one of them also participated in a post-analysis followup, the median duration of which was 17 years.

For the study, every participant, all of who ranged in age from 20 to 87 years old, was given a questionnaire that assessed his or her medical history and lifestyle habits. Included in the questionnaire was an inquiry about individuals' coffee consumption rates, as well as questions about other pertinent lifestyle choices, such as smoking status and exercise frequency. All participants were followed from baseline examination to date of death or until December 31, 2003.

During this time, there were reportedly 2,512 deaths, 87.5 percent of which were men. Upon analysis, it was determined that 32 percent of these deaths were a result of cardiovascular disease, which was not identified in this particular study as being a specific cause of excess coffee consumption. But what was identified was a definitive and statistically significant association between excess coffee consumption and all causes of death, particularly among participants under the age of 55.

According to the findings, young men are particularly susceptible to dying from coffee consumption, even at rates lower than 28 cups per week -- for this particular study, a cup was considered to be eight ounces. But things got exceptionally ugly at the 28 cups-per-week mark, which was linked to a 56 percent increased risk of mortality from all causes in men. Mortality risk was even worse for women, who were found to have a more than 100 percent increased risk of death from all causes.

Conflicting studies have found that coffee both increases and decreases mortality risk

Commenting on the results of this new study, epidemiologist Rob van Dam from the Harvard University School of Public health told NPR that he is shocked by the findings. Dam previously conducted his own research into the effects of drinking coffee and found that people who drink up to six eight-ounce cups of coffee per day, or 50 percent more than what participants drank in the new study, are not at higher risk of death.

"This result is surprising because results from other cohort studies in U.S. men and women suggest that coffee consumption is associated with a slightly lower risk of premature mortality," commented Dam in an email to NPR. He still, however, suggests listening to your own body to determine appropriate coffee intake levels.

"If people think they experience detrimental symptoms related to too much caffeine, such as difficulty sleeping or nervousness, they should try reducing their intake," he says.

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