Drinking a lot of coffee is tied to a lowered risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), a recent study suggests.
According to the study, participants who reported drinking large amounts of coffee were nearly a third less likely to develop MS than those who reported never drinking coffee. This is the first time the study’s results have been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Previously, they were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in February 2015.
The study included 2,779 people with MS and 3,960 people without MS to observe the results of two large case-control studies. It’s shown that those who had the highest levels of coffee consumption, about 900ml a day, had a 29 % lower risk of developing MS compared to those who didn’t drink any coffee.
The study showed a connection between drinking large amounts of coffee and a reduced risk of MS. It’s potential that caffeine has a protective effect on the spinal cord and brain, the study suggested. For patients with MS, their body’s immune system attacks myelin- the protective layer surrounding nerve fibers. The brain becomes difficult to communicate with the rest of the body, therefore, certain symptoms will occur such as muscle weakness, blurred vision, poor coordination, and pain.
A limitation of the study is that participants were required to recall their coffee intake, which could lead to errors. Hence, the researchers cautioned that more analyses are still needed.
Even though former studies which looked at the association between coffee and MS have had mixed results, as some studies showing a benefit but others showing none, the current meta-analysis is noticeable due to its large samples and diversity of participants, said two neurologists who wrote an editorial alongside it in the journal.
According to Elaine Kingwell and José Maria Andreas Wijnands, two neurologists at the University of British Columbia in Canada, links between dietary factors and risk of disease has challenges to be clarified, therefore, the inconsistencies are unsurprising. They also added that even though it remains uncertain whether drinking coffee can mitigate the development of MS, the results of these profound analyses promote the increasing evidence for the health benefits of coffee.
In fact, the once-maligned beverage has been tied to numerous health benefits in few past years, including a lower risk of melanoma, heart attacks, and even early death. Also, coffee has been tied to improved liver health.