Drinking coffee may protect against depression

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People suffering from depression are often told to cut down on the amount of coffee they drink but now it seems that drinking a few cups of coffee may not be such a bad thing after all.

20 percent reduced risk

New research from America has found that drinking four or more cups of coffee cut the risk of depression by around 20 percent when compared to drinking only one cup or less of caffeinated coffee a week.

The protective benefit of coffee was also linked to dose, for example, two or three cups of coffee reduced the risk by 15 percent.

The results took into consideration other potential risk factors such as medical conditions, smoking, amount of exercise and even marital status.

10 year study

The research involved Over 50,700 women who had taken part in the Nurses’ Health Study which began in the late 90’s and lasted 10 years.

During the course of the study just over 2,600 of the participants developed depression although none of the women had depression at the start of the study. More of the women who developed depression drank little or no coffee.

More research needed

Coffee is known to have an effect on brain function as a result of the caffeine but the researchers say they can’t be certain of a causal link between coffee and reduced risk of depression and more research is needed to confirm their findings.

A similar link was not found with decaffeinated coffee or with chocolate or even other sources of caffeine such as tea and soft drinks.

Dr Michael Lucas, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston wrote:

 

“Our results support a possible protective effect of caffeine, mainly from coffee consumption, on risk of depression

“Further investigations are needed to confirm this finding and to determine whether usual caffeinated coffee consumption may contribute to prevention or treatment of depression”.

The findings have been reported in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

A previous study from Finland also found a link between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of suicide.

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