I’ve never liked coffee. My mother made a cup for me when I was about ten years old, and I hated it. But I could be missing out.
First, is coffee bad for you? Today most researchers say no. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Nature Medicine found that older people with low levels of inflammation — which drives many major diseases — were all caffeine drinkers. “The more caffeine people consumed, the more protected they were against a chronic state of inflammation,” says study author David Furman, consulting associate professor at the Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection at Stanford University. “There was no boundary, apparently.” Chronic diseases of aging, like diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, cancer, joint disorders and Alzheimer’s, are all believed to have inflammation in common. “Most of the diseases of aging are not really diseases of aging, per se, but rather diseases of inflammation,” Furman says. People who drank more than five cups of coffee a day had very low levels of inflammatory gene activity. In other words, caffeine turns the inflammatory pathway off.
The idea isn’t to make inflammation disappear; it’s an important function of the immune system. But the process isn’t regulated as well with aging. “Clearly in aging something is breaking down, and we become less effective at managing this inflammation,” says Mark Davis, director of the Stanford Institute. “But now in this paper, we identify a particular pathway that was not associated with inflammation before. We are able to point, with a much higher resolution picture, at aging and the things that should be markers for inflammation.” The key will be to figure out when the inflammatory response starts to spiral out of control, which will be the goal of further studies.
In the meantime, keep drinking your coffee.
The complete article is at http://time.com/4634553/is-coffee-bad-aging-caffeine/?xid=newsletter-brief .