Coffee Consumption Each Day Keeps Multiple Sclerosis Away?

Study examines link between caffeine intake and reduced symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Study examines link between caffeine intake and reduced symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Significant daily intake of coffee was associated with a decreased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) in a recent study.

The study, which will be presented at the annual American Academy of Neurology's meeting in Washington, DC in April, examined the prophylactic factors caffeine has on the brain.

"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, said in a press release.

The researchers utilized a Swedish study including 1629 MS patients and 2807 healthy people, and a US study with 1159 MS patients and 1172 healthy people. Coffee consumption was characterized among MS patients 1 and 5 years prior to the onset of MS symptoms, in addition to 10 years before the onset of symptoms in the Swedish study.

The data was compared with coffee consumption in healthy people during similar time periods. The analysis accounted for additional factors, including age, sex, smoking, body mass index, and sun exposure habits.

The Swedish study indicated that people who did not drink coffee had a risk of developing MS approximately one and a half times greater than people who drank at least 6 cups of coffee per day during the year prior to the appearance of symptoms. Furthermore, drinking large amounts of coffee 5 or 10 years prior to the onset of symptoms was similarly protective, the authors noted.

The US study found that people who didn't drink coffee also had a risk of developing MS approximately one and a half times greater than people who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day during the year before the development of symptoms.

"Caffeine should be studied for its impact on relapses and long-term disability in MS as well," Dr. Mowry said.