We love our coffee. In a world where workdays are getting longer, we look to coffee to keep us alert and functioning throughout the day. Coffee also contains a variety of antioxidants to prevent neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Now, a new study reveals that increased coffee consumption might reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves, affecting more than 2.3 million people worldwide. The immune system damages the protective coating of nerve cells, known as myelin, through swelling. The damaged cells cause the nerve cells to have problems communicating with each other, causing disabling symptoms including loss of balance and coordination, blurred vision, extreme fatigue, tremors, and numbness.
A study conducted by Dr. Ellen Mowry of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and colleagues analyzed data from two separate population studies that investigated the association between coffee consumption and multiple sclerosis. The first experiment was a Swedish study involving 1,629 people with multiple sclerosis and 2,807 healthy controls while the second study was a US study involving 1,159 people with multiple sclerosis and 1,172 healthy controls.
The Swedish study revealed that individuals who did not drink any coffee were 1.5 times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis compared to those who drank more than five cups of coffee each day. The United States found similar results where those who did not drink coffee were also 1.5 times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis compared to those who drank more than three cups of coffee per day.
Dr. Mowry and colleagues are still investigating the long-term effects of coffee consumption in patients with multiple sclerosis. Do not be afraid to drink your next cup of joe in the morning to start your day. Just be sure to do so in moderation. Too much coffee can lead to insomnia, the inability to fall or stay asleep. Always remember that moderation is key.