Drinking Coffee May Protect against DNA Damage, St
Scientists in the United States and Europe have been researching the beneficial effects of coffee, one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. -
In a recent study, Austrian researcher Siegfried Knausmueller of the Medical University of Vienna's Institute of Cancer Research in Austria, and his multicenter team decided to "investigate the impact of coffee on DNA stability in humans."
The study was supported by a grant from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), Tour de Peilz, Switzerland.
The researchers wrote that, "coffee drinking is inversely related to the incidence of liver and colon cancer in humans… [and the] aim of the present investigation was to elucidate if these protective effects are causally related to prevention of DNA damage."
They gave eight volunteer subjects 600 ml of coffee daily for five days, taking a sample of blood from each at the beginning and end of this coffee drinking period.
In the laboratory the researchers analyzed the subjects' white blood cells after exposure to damaging substances, either hydrogen peroxide, which is a free radical, or a cancer-causing heterocyclic aromatic amine (HA), typical of what can be generated when certain foods are cooked.
They found that the DNA from subjects who drank coffee was significantly protected (17% from the H2O2, 35% from the HA), compared to the DNA from the subjects who didn't drink coffee.
"The results of the present experiment… show clearly that coffee protects human lymphocytes (white blood cells) against oxidative DNA damage," the researchers wrote.
They attribute this protection to coffee's "…variety of constituents, which inactivate oxygen radicals."
In recent years, numerous studies have shown the health benefits of coffee, including reduction of risk to develop Diabetes Type 2, Colon Cancer, Liver Cancer, Parkinson's disease, and muscle pain during workouts.