‘Regular coffee, fish oil intake reduces mortality’
CAN regular intake of coffee and fish oil reduce the risk of obesity and death? A new found that consuming four to five cups daily may reduce the risk of early death – even for those who drink decaf.
Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the study is the latest in a number of coffee-related studies conducted by Dr. Erikka Loftfield, of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute.
Medical News Today reported on one such study in January, in which Loftfield and colleagues revealed how drinking four cups of coffee daily may lower the risk of melanoma by 20 per cent.
While this latest research did not find any link between coffee consumption and cancer mortality, it does suggest that drinking the beverage regularly could lower the risk of death from a number of causes, including heart disease and diabetes.
Also, researchers have found that fish oil transforms fat-storage cells into fat-burning cells, which may reduce weight gain in middle age.
The team explains in Scientific Reports that fish oil activates receptors in the digestive tract, fires the sympathetic nervous system, and induces storage cells to metabolize fat.
Fat tissues don’t all store fat. So-called “white” cells store fat in order to maintain energy supply, while “brown” cells metabolize fat to maintain a stable body temperature. Brown cells are abundant in babies but decrease in number with maturity into adulthood.
A third type of fat cell — “beige” cells — have recently been found in humans and mice, and have shown to function much like brown cells. Beige cells also reduce in number as people approach middle age; without these metabolizing cells, fat continues accumulating for decades without ever being used.
The scientists investigated whether the number of these beige cells could be increased by taking in certain types of foods.
Meanwhile, to reach their findings, Loftfield and her team analyzed the self-reported coffee drinking habits and health of 90,317 adults who joined the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial between 1998 to 2001. Participants were free of cancer and had no history of cardiovascular disease at baseline.
During an average 10 years of follow-up, 8,718 deaths occurred.
Compared with individuals who did not drink coffee, those who consumed four to five cups daily had the lowest risk of death from various causes, including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory diseases, influenza and suicide.
Those who consumed two to three cups of coffee daily also had a lower risk of death, as did individuals who drank decaffeinated coffee or consumed coffee additives.
Additionally, the researchers found that consuming up to five cups of coffee daily – the equivalent to 400 mg of caffeine – was not linked to any long-term health risks.
While past research has linked coffee consumption to lower risk of certain cancers, such as liver cancer, this study identified no link between coffee drinking and overall cancer mortality. “This may be because coffee reduces mortality risk for some cancers but not others,” Loftfield told Reuters Health.
The study findings remained after the team accounted for a number of influential factors, including smoking status, alcohol consumption and diet.
The jury is still out on exactly how coffee consumption lowers risk of death, but the researchers hypothesize the beverage “may reduce mortality risk by favorably affecting inflammation, lung function, insulin sensitivity and depression.”
This latest research supports another study reported by MNT last month, which found individuals who drink less than five cups of coffee daily may be at lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, type 2 diabetes and suicide.
The other potential health benefits and risks of coffee and other sources of caffeine were discussed in a Spotlight feature last year.
Meanwhile, senior author of the fish study, Teruo Kawada, said: “We knew from previous research that fish oil has tremendous health benefits, including the prevention of fat accumulation,” says. “We tested whether fish oil and an increase in beige cells could be related.”
The team fed a group of mice fatty food, and other groups fatty food with fish oil additives. The mice that ate food with fish oil, they found, gained five to 10 per cent less weight and 15 to 25 per cent less fat compared to those that did not consume the oil.
They also found that beige cells formed from white fat cells when the sympathetic nervous system was activated, meaning that certain fat-storage cells acquired the ability to metabolize.
“People have long said that food from Japan and the Mediterranean contribute to longevity, but why these cuisines are beneficial was up for debate,” adds Kawada. “Now we have better insight into why that may be.”