People have for years been extolling the health benefits of coffee - for example, it has been claimed that coffee drinkers live longer due to coffee being a rich source of antioxidants (it’s actually the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables…combined!). Antioxidants help combat afflictions such as the build-up of free radicals and aging, as well as diseases like cancer and heart disease. Now, more good news for coffee drinkers: a recent study has been able to identify another mechanism that supports this claim of longer life expectancy for coffee drinkers. Continue reading the Bristol Coffee Blog to find out more.
A recent study from the Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection at Stanford University, published in the journal Nature Medicine, has discovered an inflammatory process that can cause the development of cardiovascular disease. The study also discovered that caffeine consumption could counter this process due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
To begin, the researchers first had to identify the inflammatory processes that may cause poor health in old age. The team analyzed data from two groups; one group of healthy adults between 20-30 years of age, and one group of healthy adults aged 60+. When analyzing the blood samples of each participant, two gene clusters linked to the production of IL-1-beta, a type of circulating inflammatory protein, were identified. Researchers found these gene clusters were more activated in the older age group.
The next part of the study involved two groups of older participants, one group with high activity in one or both of the gene clusters, the other low activity. The older participants’ medical history was then analyzed. Researchers found that those with higher activity in one or both gene clusters were more likely to have high blood pressure or suffer from arterial stiffness, which can cause strokes or heart attacks. These participants were also found to have higher concentrations of free radicals, which cause cell damage and increased production of nucleic acid metabolites, which in turn led to higher production of the IL-1-beta protein (which, as previously mentioned, causes high blood pressure and systemic inflammation).
Encouragingly, the study found that caffeine might counter the negative effects of nucleic acid metabolite accumulation. When analyzing the caffeine intake of the participants, the researchers found that the blood of older participants with low gene cluster activity was more likely to contain caffeine metabolites. When the researchers introduced caffeine metabolites and nucleic acid metabolites to immune cells, they found that the caffeine metabolites prevented the inflammatory effects of the nucleic acid metabolites.
In a nutshell, caffeine can prevent inflammatory effects, which can cause heart disease. Caffeine is found in high concentrations in coffee, hence coffee can help prevent heart disease and help one live a longer, healthier life! Isn’t coffee great?
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