Researchers in the US and Sweden recently reported that coffee consumption in the years prior to multiple sclerosis symptom onset has a significant protective effect.
Drinking coffee is linked to a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to research presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., from April 18 to 25, 2015.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore analyzed a Swedish study which enrolled 2,807 healthy people and a US study which included 1,159 people with MS and an additional 1,172 healthy participants.
In the US study, investigators noted the characterization of coffee consumption among patients with MS between one and 5 years before MS symptom onset began. In the Swedish study, research tracked coffee consumption for 10 years prior to the onset of MS symptoms.
This data was compared to coffee consumption habits of people who did not have MS during a similar time period. The study took into account factors such as age, sex, smoking, body mass index, and sun exposure habits.
In the Swedish study, researchers determined that people who did not drink coffee in the years before symptoms started to develop were one and a half times more likely to develop MS than people who drank 6 or more cups of coffee per day. Drinking large quantities of coffee 5-10 years prior to symptom onset also had a similar protective effect.
Researchers from the US study reported that people who did not drink coffee were also roughly one and a half times more likely to develop MS than participants who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day in the year prior to MS symptom onset.
“Caffeine intake has been associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and our study shows that coffee intake may also protect against MS, supporting the idea that the drug may have protective effects for the brain,” study author Ellen Mowry, MD, MCR, explained in a press release.
The researchers added that caffeine should be studied for its impact on relapses and long-term disability in MS.