Coffee Could Lower Risk of Depression in Women

Evidence of correlation but not causation

Coffee is a much-researched substance and it often appears the verdict is out on its potential benefits or detriments. I love coffee, but have admitted that much of my love affair with coffee comes from the ritual of it rather than the actual substance.

Drinking several cups a day is linked with a lower risk of depression in women, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (click here for the abstract). The study found that women with the highest coffee intake, around four cups a day, had a 20% lower risk of depression. Depression will affect around 20% of women in their lifetimes.

Compared with women who drank one cup or less a week, those who had two to three cups a day had a 15% lower risk of depression. Those who drank four or more had a 20% lower risk.

It’s worth noting that this is an association, not cause and effect. But the new research is consistent with earlier studies finding that men who drink coffee have lower risks of depression, and that coffee consumption lowers suicide risk.

Why Could Coffee be an Anti-Depressant?

Caffeine activates several neurotransmitters related to depression, including dopamine and serotonin. But it’s unclear what caffeine’s affect is on the brain in the long term.

To Drink or Not Drink?

The new research probably shouldn’t change your current coffee habit, but it does give you something to, er, sip on!

Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Adan Garcia

Category: Body


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