A new study has found that drinking too much coffee can lead to an increased risk for death in those who are younger than 55. The study was published in the online version of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings medical journal, and it found that men who were younger than 55 that consumed over four cups of coffee daily were 56 percent more at risk to have died from any cause. Also, women of the same age were twice as likely to die than women that did not consume as much coffee.
The study examined over 43,000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 87 between the years of 1971 to 2002. According to Xuemei Sui, the second co-author of the study, consuming over four cups of coffee daily could be dangerous to health. Sui is an assistant professor of exercise science with University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. She says a cup of coffee is six to eight ounces of the brew.
While the study did not find a higher risk for death in adults that were 55 and older, Sui has said that the study did not include information about unhealthy older adults because they could have already passed away. Also, it is not clear why a higher death risk was associated to younger adults that drink more than four cups of coffee a day, and the findings tend to go against recent research that suggests that coffee has many health benefits.
While coffee has undeniable benefits, the caffeine in it does have the potential to raise blood pressure, increase heart rate and cause blood sugar levels to go up. It could be the effects of caffeine, and not coffee that cause the results of the study. Interestingly, Sui has said that the study did not find a strong link between drinking coffee and death from heart disease.
Some experts, like the co-chief of clinical cardiology for the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Gregg Fonarow, have said that it is likely that different factors of the diet, as well as marital status and additional elements, were not accounted for in the study, and they may play a significant role in some of the study results.
For now, the benefits of coffee may likely outweigh the risk, but these findings do warrant additional study. In the mean time, like all other products that contain caffeine, it is possible that too much of a good thing loses its benefits. So, any more than three cups of coffee a day might be a bit of overload.