AAN 2015: Coffee consumption protects you from getting MS

Are you a heavy coffee drinker? #AAN2015 #MSBlog #MSResearch

“I was at a meeting yesterday and the discussion centred around risk factor for Parkinson’s disease and whether or not any of these were applicable to MS. The study below being presented at the AAN shows  that coffee consumption is protective and reduces your chances of getting MS.”

“I am a bit of a caffeine junkie myself; mainly to keep my sleep deprived brain alert and functional. I must consume about 8 shots of  espresso before mid afternoon; the upside is I am protecting myself from getting neurodegenerative diseases, MS included. Jokes aside, there is interesting biology here and we really need to find out if the association is causal. Does caffeine really reduce your risk of getting MS because it has immunological or neuroprotective effects, or is it simply associated with a genomic or another environmental risk factor for MS. For example, some of the genes linked to MS susceptibility may simply increase your chances of drinking and liking coffee. The only way to sort this out is to get into the lab and do some basic experiments or to do an interventional study. The other thing to remember is that it may not be caffeine the active stimulant in coffee that is responsible of the effect; coffee has a large number of other active ingredients that may be responsible.”

“Well done to Ellen Mowry and her team; a very well done study and very interesting.”

Mowry et al. Greater Consumption of Coffee is Associated with Reduced Odds of Multiple Sclerosis (S45.004). Neurology April 6, 2015 vol. 84 no. 14 Supplement S45.004

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine if coffee consumption is associated with MS risk. 

BACKGROUND: Previous studies on caffeine consumption and MS risk have been inconclusive. Caffeine intake has been associated with reduced odds of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and thus may be neuroprotective. 

DESIGN/METHODS: Using two population-based case-control studies (a Swedish study of 1,629 incident cases and 2,807 controls, and a Kaiser Permanente Northern California (United States) study of 584 prevalent cases and 581 controls), the association of coffee consumption prior to disease onset with the odds of MS was evaluated in multivariate unconditional logistic regression models, adjusted for potential confounding factors, including (but not limited to) age, sex, smoking, body mass index, and sun exposure habits. 

RESULTS: In the Swedish cohort, coffee consumption was associated with reduced odds of MS compared to subjects who reported no coffee consumption. Consuming at least 6 cups of coffee daily during the index year was associated with an adjusted odds ratio (OR) for MS of 0.67 (95%CI 0.47-0.95). The corresponding ORs for those who reported high coffee consumption 5 or 10 years before the index year were 0.70 (95% CI 0.50-0.99) and 0.72 (95%CI 0.48-1.06). In the Kaiser Permanente Northern California study, among those who consumed 4 our more cups of coffee daily prior to the index year, the OR for MS was also 0.67 (95% CI 0.47-0.95). 

CONCLUSIONS: High coffee consumption is associated with reduced odds of MS. Caffeine has neuroprotective properties and seems to suppress the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which may be mechanisms that explain the observed association. 

Study Supported by: Swedish Medical Research Council; Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare; Knut and Alice Wallenberg, AFA, and Swedish Brain Foundations; Swedish Association for Persons with Neurological Disabilities; NIH/NINDS R01 NS049510; R01 NS0495103; NIH/NIAID R01 A1076544

12 thoughts on “AAN 2015: Coffee consumption protects you from getting MS”

  1. Interesting indeed. However, I understand that there is nearly as much caffeine in tea (especially strong tea) as there is in coffee. Now they need to look at tea drinking habits, especially with the great British penchant for dishing up a cuppa on any and all occasions. There's also possibly a bit of an anomaly here – the expansion of the café culture means that many more people are drinking coffee in preference to tea, so the question that comes to my mind is that given the significant increase in coffee consumption one would expect the incidence of MS to fall, and it isn't. I suspect that if there is an answer to this it probably lies in "it may not be caffeine the active stimulant in coffee that is responsible for the effect; coffee has a large number of other active ingredients that may be responsible."And what about all of those caffeine laden energy drinks now being slurped up in quantity by so many people? It would be interesting to see the same number crunching done on that cohort.

  2. Interestingly, ibudilast is being studied in MS (i.e. as a PDE4 inhibitor) and is structurally related to caffeine as both are xanthines. They readily cross the BBB. Caffeine also is a non-selective inhibitor of phosphodeisterases.

  3. Caffeine, its great in tea and coffee but bad news if you have a bladder problem. Too many MSers have bladder problems, that includes me. I have been advised to undergo a lifestyle change, I now drink decaff tea and coffee. Its a bit like G & T without the G.PS I still have an occasional double dose of caffeine.

  4. Yet again: inhibition of IL-6…There are a lot of drugs, other agents and compiunds which have a postive effect on the course of MS. And what do they ALL have incommon: inhibition of IL-6.I contacted 3 well known companies (whom produce anti IL-6 drugs) about this finding 2 years ago. Yes it could be random chance, it could be confirmation bias and it is only a correlation, but I think IL-6 inhibition is a key element in the fight against MS.

  5. MSers may be mildly thiamine deficient. Drinking large amounts of coffee and tea can destroy thiamine's effectiveness. So then a thiamine suppliment could be required?

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