Increased consumption of caffeinated coffee appears to reduce the risk of depression for women, finds a study
published last week in Archives of Internal Medicine
Previous research has indicated an increased risk of depression in men who consume coffee. Given that depression is twice as common in women as in men, the researchers were interested in determining whether there was any relationship between caffeine consumption and depression in women.
The current study included 50,739 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers looked at questionnaires filled out by the participants between 1980 and 2004 including information on the frequency with which they had consumed caffeinated and non-caffeinated coffee, non-herbal tea, caffeinated and non-caffeinated soft drinks, and chocolate. They then followed the participants from 1996 to 2006, tracking new cases of clinical depression that were treated with regular use of antidepressants.
At the start of the tracking for depression, the participants had an average age of 63 and did not have depression. Cases of depression were correlated with level of caffeine consumption from 1980 through two years earlier. For example, a participant’s depression status in 2000 would be compared with caffeine consumption between 1980 and 1998.
During the 10-year follow-up period, researchers identified 2,607 new-onset cases of depression. When compared with women who consumed one cup or less of caffeinated coffee per week, those who consumed two to three cups per day were 15% less likely to develop depression, and those who consumed four or more cups per day were 20% less likely to develop depression.
The researchers note that the findings do not prove that coffee consumption is responsible for the reduction in depression. “Further investigations are needed to confirm this finding and to determine whether usual caffeinated coffee consumption can contribute to depression prevention,” they write.
Increased Caffeinated Coffee Consumption Associated With Decreased Risk of Depression in Women [Press Release]
Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among Women (abstract) [Archives of Internal Medicine]