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was a 56% increased risk of death and in younger
women the risk of death was increased 113% com-
pared to those who did not drink coffee. These as-
sociated risks were not found in people who drank
less than 4 cups of coffee per day. And by the way,
a cup was defined as 8 ounces or less.
Previous studies have suggested an increased
risk of death from coffee consumption, but most
studies are weakened by the fact that many coffee
drinkers are also smokers. When adjusting the
data to account for smoking there has not been a
strong indication that coffee increases the death
Coffee is Beneficial
Have heart, for there are numerous studies that
show coffee consumption is not only safe but is
actually associated with decreases in diseases such
as stroke, heart failure, diabetes and dementia.
In 2012 Dr Lanfranco D¡¯Elia, from the Federico II
University of Naples, Italy, reported on their study
examining the risk of stroke as it relates to coffee
consumption. 484,757 participants were followed
for up to 24 years during which time 7272 strokes
occurred. It was found that modest coffee con-
sumption of up to 3 cups per day was associated
with a 14% decreased risk of stroke, while higher
consumption did not increase risk of stroke.
A Scandinavian study from 2012, published in
Circulation, showed a decrease in the risk of heart
failure in coffee drinkers who consumed about 2
cups per day. As consumption increased to 4 cups
risk reduction disappeared and above 5 cups per
day risk started slightly increasing.
Diabetes risk goes down with coffee intake and
declines even further with decaffeinated coffee
intake. A 2006 study from the Archives of Internal
Medicine examined 28,812 women over an 11-year
period and found the more coffee they drank the
less risk they had for diabetes. More than 6 cups
per day was associated with a 22% decrease in
diabetes, while decaf drinkers faired even better
with a 33% reduction in diabetes.
Abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, have
also been shown to be reduced in coffee drink-
ers, and drinking decaf did not seem to add any
benefit. A group of 130,000 participants in the
Kaiser healthcare system were studied and it was
shown that drinking more than 4 cups of coffee
per day was associated with an 18% reduction in
hospitalizations for arrhythmia, while there was
no change in risk of heart disease in general.
Coffee has clearly been shown to increase mental
and physical performance in numerous studies,
as any coffee drinker can tell you. It has also been
associated with a significant reduction in the risk
of dementias such as Alzheimer¡¯s and Parkinson¡¯s
What Jives with Java?
Coffee beans, similar to cocoa beans and tea
leaves, contain a few healthy vitamins and
minerals, but it is the power-packed anti-oxidant
chemicals, called polyphenols, that seem to be
the real benefit to coffee drinkers. In fact, studies
show coffee is the main source of anti-oxidants in
our American coffee culture.
The anti-oxidant effect of coffee may be the link
to lower rates of certain diseases in which oxida-
tion and inflammation seem to play a role in their
development. By protecting the body from oxida-
tive stress the anti-oxidants in coffee may protect
delicate organs such as the pancreas in diabetes
and neurons in dementias.
Caffeine is the other component in coffee that
clearly impacts health. It increases brain activity
by blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter called
adenosine. The result is more norepinephrine and
dopamine which lead to increased mental acuity
markers such as mood, memory, reaction time
and general cognitive function.
Metabolism and physical performance are also
increased by caffeine intake, via the ramping up
of brain chemicals that increase metabolism and
also by encouraging the breakdown of fat stores
to be used for energy production.
Perhaps this latest study of coffee consumption
lends credence to the old saying ¡°all things in
moderation¡±. We should beware of the assump-
tion that if a little of something is good then a lot
is better. I¡¯ll definitely stick to my 2 to 3 cup per
day maximum on the joe, but meanwhile enjoy
just another sip¡­
* * * * *
Free Seminars at the IMC: ¡®Bioidentical Hor-
mone Replacement for WOMEN¡¯ - Monday,
September 9th, 6p. RSVP @ 970.245.6911 or rsvp@
(Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the
American Board of Family Practice and the
American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative
Medicine. He specializes in Bioidentical Hormone
Replacement, thyroid and adrenal disorders,
fibromyalgia and other complex medical condi-
tions. He is founder and medical director of the
Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado
( and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics
( Call 970.245.6911 for
an appointment or more information.)
2013 September
Pg 6 - The Sunshine Express
Death by Coffee? Maybe not...
It¡¯s 5am and the coffee is made. Every morning,
I do ¡®coffee yoga¡¯. That is my short yoga routine
while the coffee brews. A few years ago, I woke
up one morning and realized I¡¯d had coffee every
day, for decades. That¡¯s just weird, I thought,
and promptly quit drinking coffee for a month. I
didn¡¯t notice anything, except I missed that deli-
cious aroma of the morning brew, so the coffee
ritual continues.
I usually write my weekly columns accompanied
by an early morning cup of coffee, and this morn-
Health & Nurturing
In Harmony
by Scott Rollins, M.D.
¡°As always, there¡¯s more to the story,
and it may take me two cups of coffee
to get there.¡± - Dr. Scott Rollins, M.D.
ing is no different.
Ponder the irony then
that I would be com-
menting on a recent
study that showed an
association between
coffee consumption
and an increased
death rate. As always,
there¡¯s more to the
story and it may take
me two cups of coffee
to get there.
Published this month
in the Mayo Clinic
Proceedings is a
study that examined
over 43,000 people
and collected data
going back 17 years,
during which time
2512 people died. A
third of them died
of heart disease but
coffee consumption
did not correlate with
death from heart
disease; interestingly
the increase in death
associated with coffee
intake was distinctly
non-cardiac related.
The results showed
that men of all ages
who drank more
than 4 cups of coffee
per day had a 21%
increased death rate,
while in women the
risk wasn¡¯t found.
However, in men
younger than 55
years of age there
What do you know about snacking?
1. True or False? Avoid snacks within 1 hour
before meals.
2. True or False? Snack only when you are
3. True or False? Do not snack after exercising.
4. True or False? Snacks should contain more
than 250 calories.
The Snack Quiz Answers:
1. True, Do not eat snacks within 1 hour before a
meal. The snack could interfere with your
appetite at the meal or cause you to eat more than
you need.
2. True, Eat snacks when you are hungry, but not
too often. If you do snack often, eat less at meals.
3. False, Snack 1 to 2 hours after you exercise. It
will keep your energy level high.
4. False, Snacks should be about 250 calories or
less. Try snacks like fruits and vegetables.
A Quick Snack Quiz