BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: coffee

Coffee: The Drink for a Healthier Life

Do you start every morning with a cup of coffee and continue drinking it throughout the day? If this is you, then coffee can be benefiting your health! According to a study conducted by the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, drinking three to four cups of coffee a day can be very beneficial to one’s health. This study was published in the British Medical Journal in late November. For years, the verdict of whether coffee was either beneficial or harmful to one’s health constantly changes, but scientists currently say that drinking coffee is good for people.

To conduct this study, the group of scientists from the University of South Hampton reviewed more than 200 studies that also researched the effects of coffee on the human body. According to the review, those who drink coffee have a lower risk of liver disease, some cancers, and strokes. In a comparison of non-coffee drinkers and coffee drinkers, those who drink coffee also have a lower risk of dying from heart problems. Coffee was also found to be harmful for pregnant women and people with abnormal heart rhythms.

Professor Paul Roderick, a co-author to the study and a professor at the University of Southampton, suggested that coffee intake might not be why people have lower risks of certain diseases. This study does not take into consideration factors, including exercise, smoking, or diet. However, this study is backed up by other studies that also concluded that coffee has certain health benefits.

If you are a coffee-drinker, continue to drink coffee in moderation. Experts say that the best way to obtain these potential benefits is by drinking black coffee and avoid adding extra cream and sugar. It is interesting to learn how a popular drink can be helpful to one’s health. Now, coffee-drinkers will be happy to learn how their favorite morning drink can possibly be beneficial to their health in the long run! For more information on the newfound benefits of coffee, click here and here. Based on this research, do you think more people will start drinking coffee now?

ANOTHER new study on Coffee

As students in high school, many of us are familiar with the immediate advantage of drinking coffee which is a decrease in fatigue and increase of alertness. Since I was young, however, I have heard many myths and hypotheses about the bad side effect of coffee, like how it stunts your growth and stains your teeth. I have also heard of other, positive side effect of drinking coffee. Some articles have said that caffeine has some positive effects against some diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimers. Multiple studies and published articles have come up throughout the years on the various side effects of drinking coffee daily and whether or not it is good or bad for you. An article published on sciencenews.org explains the most recent research on this mysterious drink and its long term effects on us humans, while another article argues its bad effects.

This article describes a study and analysis of more than 200,000 professionals followed for almost 30 years. They concluded that drinking up to five cups of either decaf or caffeinated coffee a day has a strong correlation to reduced risk of early death from heart and brain diseases as well as suicide. This study had even accounted for lurking variables such as smoking, weight, and diet. By adjusting for these factors, the scientists discovered that the benefits were more pronounced for non-smokers. They also found that both decaf. and caffeinated coffee were had positive effects. This led the researchers to believe that the powerful components of coffee may stem from chemical compounds in the bean such as diterpenes and chlorogenic acids.

Another article I came across mentioned the known positive, as well as the harmful effects of caffeine. (On a side note, I find it relevant to point out that this article mentioned that studies proving harmful effects of caffeine are harder to find that the reported positive effects. This, I speculate, might have to do a little bit with the fact that people tend to want to hear reassurance on things that will permit them to continue on with habits or actions that might be seen as harmful or bad otherwise.) This website cited studies that were performed by the Mayo Clinic that found that coffee raised blood pressure, increased risk of heart attacks, caused headaches, reduced fertility in women, proved harmful to people with type 2 diabetes, worsened menopause symptoms, increased anxiety, and, most obviously, caused insomnia and more. Some of these correlations, like an increase in headaches due to drinking coffee, can be explained by obvious reasoning: caffeine is a diuretic, and therefore if you aren’t drinking enough water to compensate, your body will produce too much urine and you will become dehydrated which leads to headaches in some cases.

Because of this drug’s popularity, studies after studies have come out presenting new, or sometimes repetitive, information regarding the side effects of drinking coffee. Many people want to believe that it is good for them because they drink it on such a regular basis that if it proved to be very harmful they would be in real trouble. Therefore, people are looking for proof that it is good, so there are more articles, credible and not, showing proof that it is. Additionally, another potential issue with these studies is the amount of caffeine given to the patients. In study one, the subjects were given around 5 cups of coffee a day, which is 2 to 3 more than the average American, and therefore unrepresentative of what Americans actually consume. From this data, I have decided to continue drinking the relatively small amount of coffee I do on a weekly basis, paying attention to how my own body reacts and noting the changes with attention in order to learn more about how it affects me personally, as I feel I am the only reliable source of information to myself at the moment.

Chemical in coffee may help prevent obesity-related disease

Small cup of coffee

Scientist at University of Georgia (UGA) have done a study that suggests that coffee has a chemical that can help decrease the risk of obesity and thus lower the chances for type 2 diabetes and liver diseases. Coffee contains chlorogenic acid, or CGA. CGA is not only found in coffee but in fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, and blueberries. CGA is an antioxidant that can decrease chronic inflammation in animals. Chronic inflammation is a cause of obesity which can inhibit your body’s ability to receive insulin. The test was done on a group of mice who were given high fat diets and injected with CGA shots over a 15 week period. The mice revived the CGA shots bi-weekly. Without the shots, the mice would’ve gained a substantial amount of weight, but because of CGA, they had little to no weight gain, healthy liver composition and normal blood sugar levels.

While CGA does decrease the chance of obesity, it is not a cure. Yongjie Ma, “a postdoctoral research associate in UGA’s College of Pharmacy and lead author of the paper,” said that this is not a substitute for diet and exercise. The main use for CGA would be as a therapeutic method to help people at risk of obesity and potential diabetes.

Do you think CGA can make a big impact on the obesity and diabetes community?

Additional article: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20120328/green-coffee-beans-may-aid-weight-loss

 

Drinking Coffee May Have Health Benefits?

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Petr Kratochvil

A new study at the University of Georgia indicates that a chemical compound commonly found in coffee might prevent obesity-related disease. While previous studies show that coffee consumption can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes, scientists have recently focused on chlorogenic acid, a compound also known to be in tomatoes, apples, blueberries, and pears.

The test consisted of a group of mice that were fed a high fat diet for 15 weeks while giving them CGA solution injections twice a week. Researchers found that the CGA shots helped the mice maintain normal blood sugar levels, a healthy liver composition, and prevent weight gain. It is important to note, however, that the mice received an extremely high dosage of CGA, much greater than what the average human would obtain by drinking coffee on a regular basis or eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

For the past 20 years obesity has become an issue of increasing incidence in the US. Obesity often leads to two major side effects aside from weight gain: increased insulin resistance and fat buildup in the liver. In the paper published in Pharmaceutical Research, researchers write that the CGA, significantly reduced insulin resistance and accumulation of fat in the livers of mice. They plan to extend the project to develop CGA formulation for humans.

As the Liu Lab writes “CGA is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation,” but they are not to quick to jump to conclusions. Scientists still believe that proper diet and regular exercise are the most effective ways to reduce obesity-related risks. That being said, I definitely think this makes us feel better about drinking coffee every morning.

Original Article:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141114124907.htm

For More Info:

http://www.medicaldaily.com/antioxidant-coffee-might-lower-risk-weight-gain-obesity-related-diseases-310816

Your Morning Coffee Can Weaken Your Vision?!

We all love that energizing cup of fresh coffee to start the day, but can too much lead to Glaucoma?

Cup of Coffee

Will you sacrifice your morning cups of coffee to save your eyesight? Photographer: Ian Britton, http://www.freefoto.com/preview/09-16-72/Cup-of-Coffee

The Harvard School of Public Health observed that Scandanavian countries consume the most amount of coffee in the world and also have the highest rates of Exfoliation Glaucoma (EG). Harvard researchers suspected a link between coffee and EG and proceeded to conduct a study. They took 78,900 women and 41,202 men who initially had no signs of glaucoma and had undergone eye exams between 1980 and 2008 and had them answer a questionnaire of how much coffee they drank each day.

The researchers then looked at their medical records to see if there was any evidence of EG present. Those that drank more than 3 cups of coffee a day, compared to those who didn’t drink any coffee at all, showed elementary signs of EG (fibrous material on lens, high pressure on optic nerve, build up of fluid in the eye) and had a 66% increased chance of developing EG. It’s peculiar how the link was only seen with coffee, not other caffeinated products such as soda, chocolate etc.

A question to ask yourself: will this really change the amount of coffee I drink everyday? Given the benefits of coffee: “decreased chance of developing hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol” does the possibility of developing EG balance out with the health benefits of coffee? I think it’s fair to say that you should and can drink less than three cups a day to stay on the safe side. Besides, isn’t 2 1/2 cups enough to satisfy your craving, support your health and still minimize your chance of developing EG?

For more information you can visit: “Coffee Might Raise Glaucoma Risk: Study” (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_129935.html)

Coffee Clues

In reading this article, I find one more reason why coffee, caffeine in particular, is awesome. Not only does it taste good, but it is a helpful hint in determining when and where sewage systems need to be repaired. Almost 3 % of coffee and other caffeinated drinks enter the sewage system through urine. Thus, high amounts of caffeine in urban areas shows that urine is present in the different bodies of water and is thus a sign of contamination by fecal coliform bacteria.

Gross right? Sebastien Sauve explains that if caffeine is found in sewage, that means that it came from human waste. However, he continues that caffeine is an important marker of sanitary contamination, or contamination by waste, because it helps to determine problems with multiple sewer systems.

Sauve and his colleagues discovered caffeine as compound that helps to detect fecal coliform bacteria in sewage through research on the Island of Montreal in Canada They tested for both caffeine and carbamazepine   and found that caffeine is useful in detecting coliform bacteria because it is consumed by so many people, in comparison to the compound carbamazepine, an anti seizure medication that isn’t as popular a drug as caffeine. They found that if caffeine appeared in the water at levels of 400 nanograms per liter, levels of fecal coliform bacteria were always above 200 colon-forming per 100 mL of water, a level that almost prevents swimming or bathing in the US.

Despite this highly useful information, caffeine isn’t always the best marker because water could still be contaminated without the presence of caffeine to indicate so, yet caffeine can be used to figure out when repairs to sewage systems are necessary.

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