Coffee Consumption and Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review of the Evidence

Largest relative reduction in health outcomes seen with intake of three to four cups/day versus none
Largest relative reduction in health outcomes seen with intake of three to four cups/day versus none

HealthDay News — Coffee consumption seems safe and is associated with reduced risk for various health outcomes, according to a review published online November 22 in The BMJ.

Robin Poole, MB ChB, from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted an umbrella review of the evidence relating to coffee consumption. Data were included from 201 meta-analyses of observational research with 67 unique health outcomes and 17 meta-analyses of interventional research with nine unique outcomes. 

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The researchers found that for a range of health outcomes, coffee consumption was more often associated with benefit than harm across exposures. Evidence was found for a non-linear correlation between consumption and some outcomes, with the largest relative reduction estimated to be at intakes of 3 to 4 cups/day vs. none; these included all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cardiovascular disease (relative risks, 0.83, 0.81, and 0.85, respectively). High versus low consumption was correlated with a reduced risk of incident cancer (relative risk, 0.82). Lower risks of several specific cancers and neurologic, metabolic, and liver conditions were seen in association with consumption. After adequate adjustment for smoking, harmful associations were mainly nullified, except in pregnancy, where there were correlations for high versus low/no consumption with low birth weight, preterm birth in the first and second trimester, and pregnancy loss (odds ratios, 1.31, 1.22, 1.12, and 1.46, respectively).

"Outside of pregnancy, existing evidence suggests that coffee could be tested as an intervention without significant risk of causing harm," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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