A rather strange article recently published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry shows that large amounts of caffeine just might help you to prevent multiple sclerosis. Two studies were conducted. One from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, looked at 1620 adults with MS and 2788 without the disease. The second study, conducted through Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and the University of California, Berkeley looked at 1159 people with MS in the US and 1172 healthy people.
Everyone was asked about their coffee consumption and how long they had been drinking coffee. The researchers then extrapolated out the coffee intake at and before the start of MS symptoms in those who developed the disease, compared with those who didn’t.
What they found was that the risk of MS was consistently higher among those who drank fewer cups of coffee every day – in both studies. This was even after taking into account other factors. In the Swedish study, they found that those who drank at least 900ml of coffee every day had a 28% to 30% lower risk of MS than did the non-coffee drinkers. In the American study, they found a 26% to 31% lower risk among those who drank more than 948ml daily at least five years prior to the start of symptoms.
As they concluded, “Lower odds of MS with increasing consumption of coffee were observed, regardless of whether coffee consumption at disease onset or five or 10 years prior to disease onset was considered. In accordance with studies in animal models of MS, high consumption of coffee may decrease the risk of developing MS.”
Certainly, more studies are necessary. But, as Dr. Emma Gray, head of clinical trials at the MS Society said, “While more studies are needed in this area, we welcome any research that offers new insights into risk factors for MS.”