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Heavy Coffee Consumption May Lower Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Those who average six cups a day are almost one-third less likely to have MS

coffee cup

FRIDAY, March 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals who consume about six cups of coffee a day are almost one-third less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) than non-drinkers, according to research published online March 3 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Anna Hedstrom, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues looked at two study groups: a Swedish group that included 1,620 individuals with MS and 2,788 without the disease, and a U.S. group of 1,159 MS patients and 1,172 adults free of the disease.

The researchers found that, overall, individuals who'd averaged 30 ounces of coffee a day -- around six standard cups -- were almost one-third less likely to have MS than non-drinkers. The results were similar when the researchers looked at coffee habits five to 10 years before MS symptoms began (or, for people without MS, coffee habits during that same time period).

"In accordance with studies in animal models of MS, high consumption of coffee may decrease the risk of developing MS. Caffeine, one component of coffee, has neuroprotective properties, and has been shown to suppress the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which may be mechanisms underlying the observed association," the authors write. "However, further investigations are needed to determine whether exposure to caffeine underlies the observed association and, if so, to evaluate its mechanisms of action."

One author disclosed financial ties to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

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