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Coffee and cancer prevention research review

Dr. Jim Surrell

As more and more research studies are being completed, we are now learning that coffee and caffeine may well prevent various cancers from ever happening and may also prevent them from coming back after treatment. This truly is even more good news because coffee consumption in the United States and elsewhere remains a very high levels. Today, let’s take at look at some of this recent scientific research.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are recent studies that show that drinking coffee may indeed help to protect us from some cancers. It is now believed that the reason that coffee may protect us is that coffee is brewed from the coffee beans that contain antioxidants, and antioxidants are thought to have a protective effect against some cancers. Many of these newer studies link coffee drinking to a lowered risk of multiple cancers, including prostate cancer, liver cancer, endometrial cancer, and some cancers of the mouth and throat. Let’s now take a closer look at some of this research.

The following has been reported by the United States National Library of Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They reviewed the available evidence on coffee drinking and the risk of various cancers and reported it in May, 2016. Coffee drinking was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer and had a favorable effect on liver enzymes and decreased risk of liver cirrhosis. With coffee drinking, a possible decreased risk was also found in some studies for decreased oral cancers and a decreased risk for advanced prostate cancer. Further, they reported that there seemed to be a favorable effect of coffee drinking to decrease the risk for colorectal cancer.

The World Health Organization recently reported that there is a large amount of research showing that coffee can promote health and actually inhibit cancer. Multiple research studies have found that coffee consumption reduced the risk of liver cancer, oral and pharyngeal cancer, endometrial cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and melanoma. Further, in Japan, a review of coffee and cancer prevention research showed that coffee consumption among Japanese people played a significant role in preventing liver cancer.

There are additional studies that also report some other health benefits from coffee and caffeine. We now know that caffeine may also decrease the risk for kidney stones, gallstones, liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. The Journal of Alzheimer’s also reported a study that showed that moderate coffee and caffeine intake may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Of course, we also need to remain aware of possible negative side effects from caffeine. Certainly, people will potentially react differently to coffee and caffeine. For example, excess caffeine can raise the blood pressure and heart rate in some people, but studies do not show a link to heart disease with moderate coffee intake of about 3 to 4 cups per day.

The bottom line is that coffee, not taken to excess, may well be good for people and may also serve to prevent some cancers. However, if you are on a coffee or caffeine restriction from your health care provider, discuss this matter with your provider before starting or increasing your coffee intake. Also, monitor how you react to coffee and caffeine, and base your personal coffee intake on what side effects you may experience, and then determine what would be a healthy daily amount of coffee for you.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of “The ABC’s For Success In All We Do” and the “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet” books. Requests for health topics for this column are encouraged. Contact Dr. Surrell by email at sosdietdoc@gmail.com.