I know a lot of coffee lovers.
And even though I personally don’t drink it (it makes me too jittery), I know many people look forward to their cup (or more) each day.
Of course, in my experience, many people are also concerned that they drink too much coffee. So, today, let’s look at how much is too much. Because coffee does come with plenty of health benefits. But as with most things, and as these new findings reveal, moderation is key.
(Brace yourself, some of these results are pretty shocking!)
How much is too much?
This study found that drinking more than six cups of coffee daily is linked to smaller brain volume… and a 53 percent higher risk of dementia.
Researchers looked at data from the U.K. Biobank, featuring 500,000 subjects between the ages 37 and 73. Their analysis focused on disease outcomes for more than 398,500 subjects who had reported details about their coffee drinking habits.
The subjects fell into one of seven categories: non-drinkers, decaf coffee drinkers, and coffee drinkers who drank less than one cup daily, one to two cups daily, three to four cups daily, five to six cups daily, or more than six cups daily.
Ultimately, results showed a clear link between coffee consumption habits and total brain volume: The more coffee subjects drank, the less brain volume they had. And odds of dementia were also highest among those who consumed the most coffee, compared to those who only drank one to two cups daily.
In addition, researchers found as much as a 37 percent higher risk of stroke among subjects who drank the most coffee. (Notably, these same trends were not found among tea drinkers. Perhaps because tea has other protective antioxidants, but that’s pure speculation.)
Moderation is key
On the other hand, get this: While odds for dementia were highest among the heaviest coffee drinkers (compared to light drinkers, who poured one to two cups a day), they were also higher in non-drinkers and in those who drank decaf.
But this isn’t too surprising. As a potent stimulant of the nervous system, plenty of research shows that drinking caffeine can actually help brain function.
So, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and predict that coffee isn’t so different from alcohol in having a U-shaped relationship to health. In other words, if you drink too little or too much you will run into problems—but somewhere in the middle is a sweet spot.
As for why excessive coffee consumption has this negative effect on brain health, the researchers aren’t sure. But one theory is that it could be from the dehydrating effects.
(Yes, dehydration can cause cognitive problems… and a whole lot more. Especially when it’s chronic. You can learn more about this exact subject in the upcoming October issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. Not a subscriber yet? Consider signing up today—you won’t want to miss it!)
All I know is that I’m going to consider making coffee a part of my life—and if you drink more than six cups per day, I hope you’ll consider making coffee a smaller part of yours.
“Coffee and the Brain: ‘Concerning’ New Data.” Medscape Medical News, 07/26/2021. (medscape.com/viewarticle/955378)