TORONTO: Excessive intake of coffee is likely to reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune condition affecting the nerve cells, a study has revealed.
The findings, which add to the growing evidence of health benefits of coffee, showed that more than six cups of coffee a day, lower the risk of MS.
According to Elaine Kingwell of the University of British Columbia in Canada, the risk of MS is higher among those drinking fewer cups of coffee each day, even after taking account of other factors that could have an influence, such as smoking during teenage years.
The animal studies of MS have pointed out the evidence in favour of caffeine’s protective effects against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant, has neuro-protective properties and can suppress the production of chemicals involved in the inflammatory response, describing its association with MS, the researcher explained.
The researchers, in the study published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, based their findings on two representative population studies.
The first study they referred to was conducted in Sweden comprising 1,620 adults with MS and 2,788 adults with no symptoms of it; the second one was a US study comprising 1,159 people with MS and 1,172 people without any symptoms of it. In both the studies, the participants were quizzed about their maximum daily consumption of coffee.
The researchers then used this information to estimate coffee consumption during MS symptoms in those with the condition and compared with the healthy groups.
In the Swedish study, coffee consumption was associated with a 28% to 30% lower risk of MS among those drinking more than six cups (900ml) every day.
Similar results were found in the US study, with a 26% to 31% lower risk among those drinking more than 948ml daily at least five years beforehand and at the onset of symptoms, compared with those who never drank coffee.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2016.