This week from Dr. Cerami and Utah Sports and Wellness
This is the first and largest study to examine whether varying coffee (including decaffeinated) or caffeine consumption levels are associated with telomere length. In populations that regularly consume coffee, coffee is a major source of antioxidant intake and constitutes a higher percentage of dietary total antioxidant capacity. The telomere is a biomarker of aging. Although somatic cell telomeres shorten with age because of the end-replication problem, oxidative stress accelerates their shortening. Because coffee consumption can reduce oxidative stress and affect DNA integrity, it is plausible that coffee consumption may be associated with telomere length. In this study, a significant linear association with longer telomeres for higher total and caffeinated coffee consumption. No significant association was found for decaffeinated coffee.
We performed a large comprehensive study on how coffee consumption is associated with telomere length. We used data from the Nurses Health Study (NHS), a prospective cohort study of female nurses that began in 1976. We examined the cross-sectional association between coffee consumption and telomere length in 4780 womenfrom the NHS. Coffee consumption information was obtained from validated food-frequency questionnaires, and relative telomere length was measured in peripheral blood leukocytes by the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Unconditional logistic regression was used to obtain ORs when the telomere length outcome was dichotomized at the median. Linear regression was used for tests of trend with coffee consumption and telomere length as continuous variables. Higher total coffee consumption was significantly associated with longer telomeres after potential confounding adjustment. Compared with non-coffee drinkers, multivariable ORs for those drinking 2 to <3 and $3 cups of coffee/d were, respectively, 1.29 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.68) and 1.36 (95% CI: 1.04, 1.78) (P-trend = 0.02). We found a significant linear
association between caffeine consumption from all dietary sources and telomere length (P-trend = 0.02) after adjusting for potential confounders, but not after additionally adjusting for total coffee consumption (P-trend = 0.37). We found that higher coffee consumption is associated with longer telomeres among female nurses. Future studies are needed to better understand the influence of coffee consumption on telomeres, which may uncover new knowledge of how coffee consumption affects health and longevity
These authors also note:
- “Coffee is an important source of antioxidants, and consumption of this beverage is associated with many health conditions and a lower mortality risk.”
- “Coffee consumption is associated with many health conditions and lower mortality risk.”
- Coffee contains many antioxidants and polyphenols.
- Compared with non-coffee drinkers, the odds of having above-median telomere length were:
• those drinking 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day was by 29%.
• those drinking ≥3 cups of coffee per day was by 36%.
- “Higher total coffee consumption was significantly associated with longer telomeres after potential confounding adjustment.”
- The confounders included:
• physical activity
• alcohol consumption
• trans fat consumption
- “We found that higher coffee consumption is associated with longer telomeres among female nurses.”
- “Coffee consumption has been found to promote DNA integrity.”
• “Coffee consumption reduces spontaneous DNA strand breaks.”
• Coffee consumption protects against chemical-induced DNA damage.
• Coffee consumption protects against oxidative DNA damage.
• Specific compounds in coffee (other than caffeine) may protect against DNA damage.
- The authors “found a statistically significant linear trend with longer telomeres for caffeinated coffee consumption but not for decaffeinated coffee consumption, which is consistent with a previous finding that the antioxidant capacity of caffeinated coffee is higher than that of decaffeinated coffee.”
- The decaffeination process not only lowers caffeine concentration but can also lower other antioxidants that form complexes with caffeine, such as polyphenols.
- “Compounds in coffee besides caffeine may be responsible for the association between coffee consumption and telomere length.”
- “Our findings suggest that higher consumption of coffee—especiallycaffeinated coffee—is associated with longer telomeres.