How Coffee Affects DNA

In This Article

DNA and Coffee

In a new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, coffee consumption was compared to water consumption, and the effect on the DNA may surprise you.

Our DNA strands are constantly breaking and being repaired, but when the breaking becomes excessive and the repair process breaks down, a variety of health concerns can ensue. (3) Accelerated aging, immunity lag, the onset of hereditary health concerns and cellular replication issues are all linked to DNA strand breakage with poor repair mechanisms. (1,2,3)

Coffee vs. Water

In the study, 84 men were divided into two groups:

Group 1: drank 25 ounces of coffee each day.

Group 2: drank 25 ounces of water each day in addition to their regular diet, which was controlled.

They continued this for 4 weeks, and DNA strand breaks on their white blood cells were measured in both groups. Before the study, both groups had a similar rate of DNA strand breakage.

The Result: Surprisingly, the water-drinking group actually saw a slight increase in DNA strand breaking, while the coffee drinking group saw a significant reduction (a 26% decrease) in DNA strand breaking (3)

My Take

With coffee being the leading beverage in the world second only to water amounting to more than $10 billion in trade worldwide (4), it seems important to understand the pros and cons of coffee. In addition to this brief blog regarding coffee and our DNA, I invite you to read my in-depth review of coffee called, “Coffee: The Good, The Bad, and The Ayurvedic Perspective.”

There is no doubt that it is loaded with antioxidants that have been shown to support healthy blood sugar, cardiovascular health, cognitive function and safe cellular replication as seen in the study cited above. (4) (Of course, none of these benefits are related to the cream or sugar that most people add to their coffee.) That said, not all researchers agree with these findings, so we are forced to wait for more research and use logic. (4)

As with anything, the possible advantages must be weighed against the possible risks, which are mostly related to the stimulating effects of caffeine – which can include, anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and palpitations, as well as bone loss and possibly increased risk of fractures. (5)

As I mentioned in a previous article, the benefits seem to show with or without the caffeine content (6), so my suggestion, if you are going to drink coffee, is to lower the intake of caffeine and choose a naturally decaffeinated coffee using a water process or critical extraction process.

Ayurvedically speaking, do we really need any more stimulants in our diets or lifestyles? I am a proponent of being a bit more self-aware of how we artificially energize ourselves and make strides to make it comfortably through each day without the need for coffee or other stimulants.

References

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18346777
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15734952
  3. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-014-0696-x#page-1
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21432699
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23871889
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22695871

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