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Coffee May Help Prevent Certain Autoimmune Diseases

By Rebecca Price

I have long been admonished for drinking coffee by those who mean well. “Don’t you know coffee’s a drug?” they would ask me, eyes wide. However, I am here to tell the haters that coffee is, in fact, good for you!

Yes, we have always known that coffee wakes you up and gives you energy, but did you know it has other health benefits, as well? Java contains a high percentage of antioxidants, which, according to WebMD, protect you from free radicals that may cause chronic diseases.

Lifehacker reports in an article, “The Science Behind Coffee and Why it’s Actually Good for Your Health,” that a cup of coffee contains 6 percent of the RDA for Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5); 11 percent of the RDA for Riboflavin (Vitamin B2); 2 percent of the RDA for Niacin (B3) and Thiamine (B1); and 3 percent of the RDA for Potassium and Manganese.

In fact, according to News-Medical.net, coffee can even reduce the likelihood of certain autoimmune diseases. Coffee has recently been found to reduce the risk of fibrosis, and now, it may even lower the risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), which is a rare autoimmune liver disease.

Additionally, Donald Hensrud, M.D., on mayoclinic.com reported that coffee may be linked to decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is great news for coffee lovers in the autoimmune community! But how exactly does coffee prevent these autoimmune diseases?

Although ScienceDaily reports that it is not yet known for sure how coffee and diabetes are linked, it is quite certain that the caffeinated beverage lowers the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. According to one test conducted by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, the chlorogenic acid and trigonelline in coffee reduce early glucose and insulin responses, and contribute to the alleged favorable effect of coffee.

Lifehacker also confirmed that there is a connection between coffee and the lowered risk of diabetes:

“The reduction in risk ranges from 23 percent all the way up to 67 percent,” the article said. “A massive review article looked at 18 studies with a total of 457,922 participants. Each additional cup of coffee per day lowered the risk of diabetes by 7 percent. The more coffee people drank, the lower their risk.”

Coffee may also help lower the risk of the rare autoimmune diease, PSC. According to an article on Medical News Today, primary sclerosing cholangitis “is a progressive disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the bile ducts (‘cholangitis’) that eventually causes hardening and scarring (‘sclerosing’).”

This article, entitled “Coffee Drinking Tied to Lower Risk For Rare Liver Disease PSC,” reported that Craig Lammert, a gastroenterologist and hepatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, would report his conclusions from their PSC study at the Digestive Disease Week 2013 conference in Orlando, Florida, in May 2013. Although there was nothing entirely conclusive, Lammert said drinking coffee seemed to be effective for those with PSC but not PBC (primary biliary cirrhosis).

However, no matter if you drink coffee for health reasons or just to wake you up in the mornings, it’s still important to consume everything in moderation, as Dr. Hensrud advised.


Image Source: Iryna Yeroshko


Rebecca Price–Autoimmune Ally

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About Author

Born a North Carolinian, Rebecca Price moved to Papua New Guinea when she was 3 and lived on a Wycliffe Bible Translators center there until she graduated high school in 2010. Now a rising senior at Asbury University, Rebecca is a double major in creative writing and journalism with a minor in Spanish. Rebecca is the Executive Editor of her student newspaper, the Asbury Collegian, and a writing tutor at the Center for Academic Excellence. She has had some wonderful experiences during her time at Asbury, including reporting at the London 2012 Olympics through the NBC-affiliate LEX-18. She enjoys bunnies, coffee and AP Style.

View all Rebecca Price posts.

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