ResearchSpeak & NewsSpeak: coffee glorious coffee

Are you addicted to coffee? If not it may be too late. #ResearchSpeak #NewsSpeak #BrainHealth #MSBlog #MSResearch

“Do you like reading news items that are trending? The coffee-MS story is out there at the moment. Interestingly, we covered this story last year when the data was presented at the AAN so it is not a new story. The bottom line is that if you are a coffee drinker you reduce your risks of getting MS by ~30% compared to non-coffee drinkers. Is this an association or causation? Is there something that coffee-drinkers do that non-coffee drinkers don’t that protects them from getting MS (association)? Or, do the genetic factors that increase your risk of getting MS simply increase your affinity for coffee, and your chances of becoming addicted to coffee (association)? Or is there something in coffee that alters the immune system and reduces your risk of getting MS (causation)? If the observation is causal what is it in coffee that reduces your chances of getting MS? Could it be caffeine? If it is caffeine then other caffeinated drinks should also reduce your risks of getting MS; e.g. tea, cola, etc. Apart from being a stimulant we know that caffeine has many biological effects including immunological and neuroprotective effects.”

“Coffee not only reduces your chances of getting MS, but is protective for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease as well. The latter observations alone make it worthwhile taking up the habit. Which is the reason I give for my 6-8 espresso shot per day habit. Did you know that on a global level caffeine is the most prevalent human addiction. The good news is that it seems to have health benefits; coffee, probably caffeinated coffee, may be neuroprotective. Could coffee be another lifestyle factor to take into account when optimising your brain health? I must rush; I need to get my next fix of coffee!”

To be addicts
we are fated
always thirsty
never sated.

Bliss in a cup
Coffee is required

Riley Key Cleary, May 7, 2014

Hedström et al. High consumption of coffee is associated with decreased multiple sclerosis risk; results from two independent studies. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry doi:10.1136/jnnp-2015-312176

Objective: Previous studies on consumption of caffeine and risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) have yielded inconclusive results. We aimed to investigate whether consumption of coffee is associated with risk of MS.

Methods: Using two population-representative case–control studies (a Swedish study comprising 1620 cases and 2788 controls, and a US study comprising 1159 cases and 1172 controls), participants with different habits of coffee consumption based on retrospective data collection were compared regarding risk of MS, by calculating ORs with 95% CIs. Logistic regression models were adjusted for a broad range of potential confounding factors.

Results: Compared with those who reported no coffee consumption, the risk of MS was substantially reduced among those who reported a high consumption of coffee exceeding 900 mL daily (OR 0.70 (95% CI 0.49 to 0.99) in the Swedish study, and OR 0.69 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.96) in the US study). Lower odds of MS with increasing consumption of coffee were observed, regardless of whether coffee consumption at disease onset or 5 or 10 years prior to disease onset was considered.

Conclusions: In accordance with studies in animal models of MS, high consumption of coffee may decrease the risk of developing MS. Caffeine, one component of coffee, has neuroprotective properties, and has been shown to suppress the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which may be mechanisms underlying the observed association. However, further investigations are needed to determine whether exposure to caffeine underlies the observed association and, if so, to evaluate its mechanisms of action.

27 thoughts on “ResearchSpeak & NewsSpeak: coffee glorious coffee”

  1. I am sensitive to caffeine and had to cut out tea and coffee during my first relapse, it increased my anxiety. I was drinking three cups a day during this first relapse as I was at university writing essays late into the evening. MS and anxiety (also stress) do not mix well for me at all.

    1. Unfortunately, caffeine is not good when you have a neurogenic bladder. It increases its irritability and it caffeine is also a mild diuretic. So balance a lot of MSers can't consume caffeine.

  2. I think you've said before that you don't get enough sleep… could coffee be the culprit? I expect you're just way too busy.

    1. Re: "I think you've said before that you don't get enough sleep… could coffee be the culprit? I expect you're just way too busy."I don't drink much coffee after 3pm. My lack of sleep is constitutional and related to my workload; this is common problem in academia – none of us have 9-to-5 jobs.

    2. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol all keep me awake at night. Advice on several online sites is to stop drinking alcohol two or three hours before bed, some people need to stop six hours before bed. As it disrupts sleep patterns. Camomile tea is a natural sedative and good to have before bed.

  3. Alternate hypothesis: whatever the neuroprotective effect caffeine exerts on PD and AD is, it is also present in pre-MS and CDMS. This effect delays or otherwise decreases the release of cryptic antigen, and/or of DAMPs that could be inflammatory or immunogenic. I guess you could maybe test something like this if there is a A2/caffeine unresponsive mouse, and did a bone marrow chimera, and tried to give them EAE in both directions? If the effect was primarily outside in, then insensitive mouse with sensitive myeloid compartment would be protected when caffeinated relative to the sensitive mouse with an insensitive myeloid compartment when caffeinated. Either way a fun study to do and you get to caffeinate your animals… Then it would be interesting to follow up and see if a similar direction of effect is observed across multiple models. I bet it isn't, and that whatever markers are present should be used to stratify patients for different treatment regimens.

    1. "Either way a fun study to do and you get to caffeinate your animals…"We're not great fans of the "wouldn't it be fun" type of experiment here. We'll leave this one to others 😉

  4. Could caffeine shampoo be an alterative option, there are quite a few different ones?

    1. Looking into the mechanisms it may protect the hair roots against the effects of testosterone, rather than changing the levels of testosterone in the body. The caffeine only reaches as far as the root of the hair follicle and not the rest of the body.

  5. It would be interesting to know what the influence of coffee is once you have ms. I love my coffee and am one of those people with lots of predominantly inactive lesions and hardly any symptoms (including cognitive) at all.

  6. We've always been told that caffeine is bad for you. I stopped drinking it after my MS diagnosis. Last year when you guys posted a study on coffee's effects on MS, I started drinking my morning java and noticed a difference in my fatigue and cognition right away. I never want to stop drinking it now!

  7. Very interesting. But why could it not have been tea? I love tea. If I drink coffee I turn into a trembling, hyperactive maniac for half an hour, cannot write, touch type or sit still, then I collapse into a useless heap. And coffee gives people bad breath. How I hated people leaning over my shoulder at work after their coffee break!

    1. Haha… coffee breath over the shoulder I know what you mean, same with smokers breath over the shoulder.. grim. I was reading today that it's best to have our first cup of coffee when the morning spike in cortisol has gone down. When we wake up in the morning first thing our cortisol level is high known as the ‘cortisol awakening response’. Best leave the coffee twenty or thirty minutes from wakening when levels are going down.

  8. MS or not, a good cup of joe can't be beat. From what I remember there was some patient interest in a drug called prokarin (combination of caffeine and histamine) that anecdotally relieved some MS symptoms.

    1. Apparently MSers do not make enough of the neurotransmitter histamine and this is what the drug is based on added with caffeine.

  9. Another piece in the puzzle. So far, I've got:- Live in a poor country- Get a pet cat- Drink loads of coffee- Don't kiss anyone (to avoid getting mono)- Live on the equator- Don't get fat- and lie in the sun all day.Can we check this out? Has an anorexic, sun-loving, chaste, cat-owning Starbucks junkie living in Ecuador ever developed MS?:)

    1. Anorexic's are prone to increased infections. Mono can be caught through using unwashed utensils, coughs and sneezes, through saliva not only kissing.

  10. Oh how wonderful !!! I just love coffee !!! Coffee has always been a habit in my life, caffeine is often used as a diuretic and stimulant in sports. And when I went to law school there but coffee became a constant presence in my routine as practicing law and coaching swimming at the time the pace was too heavy. Coffee beans, freshly ground is very good !!!!

  11. Are we so certain it's the actual caffeine? I could swear that I read an article a few years back that said positive effects were seen in both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties. They chalked it up to the combination of phytonutrients that can be found in coffee.

  12. Age 73, vegan since 1999, using organic fresh high starch, low fat, low protein, lightly cooked plant-only foods, no gluten or grains, little sucrose, 500 mg V-C only supplement, stevia sweetener, no caffeine, no cocoa — caffeine highly enjoyable, but leads to dependency, irritability, and much worse handwriting — deep into meditation and nonduality — retired 2007 after 2 decades as home hospice caregiver in Santa Fe, New Mexico — 4 years now 10 miles south of San Diego, in small house with my lady partner, a mile from the ocean…

  13. Paper from 2012.Neurochem Int. 2012 Apr;60(5):466-74. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.02.004. Epub 2012 Feb 15.Caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and the phenolic phytochemical chlorogenic acid up-regulate NQO1 expression and prevent H₂O₂-induced apoptosis in primary cortical neurons.Kim J1, Lee S, Shim J, Kim HW, Kim J, Jang YJ, Yang H, Park J, Choi SH, Yoon JH, Lee KW, Lee HJ.Last paragraph of abstract:The neuroprotective efficacy of caffeinated coffee was similar to that of decaffeinated coffee, indicating that active compounds present in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, such as chlorogenic acid, may drive the effects.

    1. Maybe I might start drinking decaf coffee again. Decaf coffee is supposed to be 97% – 99% decaffeinated.

    2. I was sure it couldn't be the caffeine! I stopped having coffee during my first relapse as it would make my symptoms way worse. Same with black, white and green tea and highly concentrated vitamin C (orange juice, blueberry extract). I'm amazed people are saying coffee is good for their MS!I can have decaf but only between relapses in moderate amounts.

  14. It's all in the news this weekend that "eating certain foods that have been cooked at high temperatures could be linked to cancer, according to health officials. The danger foods include coffee, chips, toast, biscuits, crackers, crisps, breakfast cereals (except for porridge),cooked pizza bases, black olives and cereal-based baby foods.When cooked at high temperatures (above 120C) a chemical compound forms called acrylamide and studies on mice have shown that high levels of it can cause neurological damage and cancer.Gavin Shears, a senior policy adviser in contaminants at the FSA, said there was no expectation that people would "radically change" their diets if they were already eating a balanced selection of food." Sky news.

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