All good things in moderation, right? Well, not always. According to a new study, guzzling 30 ounces of coffee a day—or about six cups—can reduce a person's risk of Multiple Sclerosis by as much as 30 percent.
The study, published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, shows that caffeine has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory responses that have links to the disease.
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Researchers examined data from two studies—one in Sweden and one in the U.S.—that compared the coffee-drinking habits of people who had MS and those who did not. The data showed that the risk of MS was consistently higher in both data groups among people who consumed less coffee.
The Swedish study showed that people who drank six or more cups of coffee every day, starting at the onset of MS symptoms or 5-10 years beforehand, were 28-30 percent less likely to develop MS. The U.S. study showed similar results: People who drank more than 948 mL per day (about a quarter of a gallon) were 26-31 percent less at risk. Basically, the more coffee a person drank, the lower his or her risk of MS, according to the study.
In a press statement released with the study, however, researchers cautioned people not to draw firm conclusions about the cause and effect properties of coffee in relation to MS, and noted that previous studies have shown inconsistent results.
"Given the well known challenges that exist in untangling the nature of associations between dietary factors and disease risk, these inconsistencies are perhaps not surprising," said doctors Elaine Kingwell and José Maria Andreas Wijnands, of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, in an editorial. "Although it remains to be shown whether drinking coffee can prevent the development of MS, the results of these thorough analyses add to the growing evidence for the beneficial health effects of coffee."