Coffee and Health Table for 2013: Drink to Your Health and Longevity

Holly Hosford-Dunn
October 2, 2013

Hearing Economics concludes the 2013 expanded version of International Coffee Day with a new, improved table linking coffee/caffeine intake to health effects.  The original table appeared in April 2012 and was updated in September 2012. The studies of varying scientific rigor continue to pour in, most in support of a daily coffee habit.

Coffee effects on hearing and balance remain scant but at least we now have two entries in the table suggesting that coffee does not influence vestibular testing and an alkaloid in coffee (trigonelline) facilitates recovery of auditory neuropathy (AN) in mice.

Meanwhile, the Ida Institute has an entire page dedicated to its delightful “Coffee to Go” idea:  Partner with national coffee shop chains to place helpful, witty comments about hearing health and hearing loss on disposable cups and sleeves.  The idea is that people are receptive to new ideas when they are doing something they enjoy, such as drinking coffee.

Which is not to say that coffee can’t kill or maim you.  Dropping your guard and getting too receptive can be a downer if you imbibe coffee with Whitey Bulger or colleagues with whom you’ve engaged in extracurricular activities.  Caveat imbibo.



Adverse Effects



Driving Safety

Reduced risk of accidents for long-haul truckers (63%)[i]







Working Memory



Analgesic effect

Physical capacity/Exercise performance

Increased benefit (used to be considered “doping”);

 ergogenic aid for perceived effort & neural substrate availability[ii]

Mortality (all causes)

Risk of dying over 13 year period reduced 10%-15% with 2+ cups/day[iii],[iv]

Dependence Abuse



“little evidence”

Withdrawal Syndrome

Benign, 50% who stop have headache; tiredness; &/or decreased attentiveness and contentedness

Alcoholic cirrhosis

Strong inverse dose-dependent relationship

Cardiovascular Disease
Heart Failure

Progressive risk reduction up to 4-5 cups/day[v]

> 5 cups/day increases risk progressively

Myocardial infarction

Protective Effect

Heart arrhythmia

May trigger in very susceptible individuals

Coronary events
Blood Pressure

“small but significant” reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure[vi]

Ischemic Stroke

Reduced risk of stroke for 1-3 cups/day[vii]

Intracerebral  hemorrhage

17% risk reduction with 1+ cups/day[viii]

Women:  CV disease

No deleterious effects[ix]

No helpful effects

Endocrine Disorders
Insulin sensitivity


Type II diabetes

Preventive action

>4 cups/day reduces risk of onset  of Type II diabetes in post-menopausal women[x]

Gastrointestinal System          
Colorectal cancer

15% lower risk, 4+ cups/day[xi]

Bowel surgery

Post surgical bowel movement 14 hours sooner with caffeine[xii]

Mental Processes & Disease
Anxiety Symptoms (anxiety, nervousness, irritability, insomnia, panic attack)

Possible link

Alzheimer’s disease

Reduction of risk


Reduced (relative to sweet drinks), 4 or more cups/day[xiii]

Depression in Women

15-20% decreased risk with consumption of 2-4 cups/day[xiv]

Cognitive Decline

Modestly reduced rate of decline, but scant data[xv]

Cognitive Decline in Women

Protective effect, increasing with age, for > 3 cups/day[xvi]


risk decreases as consumption increases to 7 cups/day

Risk increases above 8 cups/day

Nervous System Disorders
Parkinson’s disease

Dose-related protective effect

“modest” improvement in motor function[xviii]

Other Systems

Reduced incidence, dose-dependent

Liver fibrosis

Lowered in some patients[xix], [xx]


Reduced death from oral cancers[xxi]

Reproductive Systems
Endometrial cancer

>3 cups/day lowers risk[xxii]

Prostate Cancer

6 cups/day: “striking decrease” in fatal, metastatic disease[xxiii]

Pregnancy & Postpartum

Coffee intake in pregnancy does not cause behavioral problems in offspring[xxiv]

No sleep consequences for infants at 3 months[xxv]

Sensory Systems
Auditory System

Facilitates recovery from diabetic & experimentally-induced AN in mice[xxvi], [xxvii]

Dry Eye

May reduce by boosting tear production[xxviii]

Vestibular system

Does not affect vestibular & balance test results[xxix], [xxx]


Increased risk for >500 mg/day caffeine[xxxi]


“powerful anti-aging botanical”  purported to reduce signs of skin aging[xxxii]

Skin cancer

17% reduced relative risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) with 3 cups per day[xxxiii]

[i] Sharwood LN et al.  Use of caffeinated substances and risk of crashes in long distance drivers of commercial vehicles: case-control study.  BMJ 2013;346:f1140.

[ii] Cole KJ et al.  Effect of caffeine ingestion on perception of effort and subsequent work production. Int J Sport Nutr. 1996 Mar;6(1):14-23.

[iii] Freedman ND et al. Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. N  Engl J Med 2012; 366:1891-1904, May 17, 2012

[iv] Jane Brody, Having Your Coffee and Enjoying It Too.  NYTimes, June 25, 2012.

[v] Mostofsky E. no title given. Circulation: Heart Failure. June 26, 2012.

[vi] Thomas-Jean F, et al. Are you tea or coffee addict? The long term beneficial effect on blood pressure.  Parallel Oral Session 7A, 5/17/13, 9:40am.  23rd European Meeting on Hypertension & Cardiovascular Protection.  Milan, June 14 −17, 2013.

[vii] D’Elia L et al. no title given. European Society of Hypertension (ESH) 2012: 22nd European Meeting on Hypertension and Cardiovascular Protection. April 26 – 29, 2012; London, United Kingdom.

[viii] Kokubo Y et al.  The impact of green tea and coffee consumption on the reduced risk of stroke incidence in Japanese population:  The Japan public health center-based study cohort.  Stroke, 3/14/2013.

[ix] Garcia-Lopez E. no title given.  American J of Clin Nutrition; May 13, 2011.

[xi] Rashmi S et al. Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tea intakes and risk of colorectal cancer in a large prospective study. Am J Clin Nutr, June 13, 2012, doi: 10.3945/​ajcn.111.031328.

[xiii] Chen, American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting. Abstract 2257. Released January 8, 2013.  Sweetened Drinks May Boost Depression, Coffee Reduce It.

[xvi] Richie K et al. The neuroprotective effects of caffeine. A prospective population study (the Three City Study).  Neurology, August 7, 2007 vol. 69( 6), pp 536-54. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000266670.35219.0c

[xvii] Tanskanen A. et al.  Heavy coffee drinking and the risk of suicide. European J of Epidemiology, 16(9),  (2000), 789-791, DOI: 10.1023/A:1007614714579

[xix] Molloy JW et al. (2012), Association of coffee and caffeine consumption with fatty liver disease

, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and degree of hepatic fibrosis. Hepatology, 55: 429–436. doi: 10.1002/hep.24731

[xx] Bambha K.  no title given.  Presented at The Liver Meeting 2012: American Assn for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) 63rd Annual Meeting.  Abstract 99. November 11, 2012.

[xxi] Bakalar N. Risks: Coffee Linked to Fewer Oral Cancer Deaths.

[xxii] Gunter MR et al. A prospective investigation of coffee drinking and endometrial cancer incidenceInt J Cancer. 2012 Aug 15;131(4):E530-6. doi: 10.1002/ijc.26482. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

[xxiii] Wilson KM et al. Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2011). doi: 10.1093/jnci/djr151. First published online: May 17, 2011

[xxiv] Loomans E et al. Caffeine Intake During Pregnancy and Risk of Problem Behavior in 5- to 6-Year-Old Children.  Pediatrics peds.2011-3361; published ahead of print July 9, 2012, doi:10.1542/peds.2011-3361.

[xxv] Santos I, et al.  Maternal Caffeine Consumption and Infant Nighttime Waking. : Prospective Cohort Study.  Pediatrics, 2, 2012.

[xxvi] Hong BN et al. High-dosage pyridoxine-induced auditory neuropathy and protection with coffee in mice.  Biol Phar Bull. 2009 Apr; 32(4); 597-603.

[xxvii] Hong BN et al.  Coffee improves auditory neuropathy in diabetic mice.  Neurosci Lett. 2008 Aug 29; 441(3): 302-6.

[xxix] FELIPE, Lilian et al . Evaluation of the caffeine effect in the vestibular test. Rev. Bras. Otorrinolaringol.,  São Paulo ,  v. 71, n. 6, Dec.  2005 .   Available from <>. access on  02  Oct.  2013.

[xxx] Enriquez A, Sklaar J, Viirre E, Chase B. Effects of Caffeine on Postural Stability. Int Tinnitus J. 2009;15(2):163-163

[xxxi] Pasquale LR et al (2012), The Relationship between Caffeine and Coffee Consumption and Exfoliation Glaucoma or Glaucoma Suspect: A Prospective Study in Two Cohorts.  Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. September 21, 2012 vol. 53 no. 10 6427-6433.

[xxxii]Revaleskin Coffee Berry treatments.

[xxxiii] Turati F et al. Coffee and cancers of the upper digestive and respiratory tracts: meta-analyses of observational studies.

Ann Oncol. 2011 Mar;22(3):536-44.  Epub 2010 Oct 13.

title image from body by fadi


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