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Medicine Science Technology

Caffeine May Counter Age-Related Inflammation, Says Study (stanford.edu) 99

According to a new Stanford study published in the journal Nature Medicine, caffeine may help to counter the inflammatory process that occurs in some older people. The researchers have found a connection between advancing age, systemic inflammation, cardiovascular disease and coffee consumption by analyzing blood samples, survey data and medical and family histories obtained from more than 100 human participants in a multiyear study. Stanford Medical Center Report adds: The study implicates this inflammatory process as a driver of cardiovascular disease and increased rates of mortality overall. Metabolites, or breakdown products, of nucleic acids -- the molecules that serve as building blocks for our genes -- circulating in the blood can trigger this inflammatory process, the study found. The study also provides evidence that caffeine and its own metabolites may counter the action of these circulating nucleic-acid metabolites, possibly explaining why coffee drinkers tend to live longer than abstainers. Notably, this inflammatory mechanism was found to be activated only in some, but not all, of the older study participants. Those in whom it was relatively quiescent tended to drink more caffeinated beverages. Laboratory experiments revealed that the mechanism was directly countered by caffeine and associated compounds. For the new study, the researchers compared blood drawn from older versus younger study participants to see which genes tended to be more highly activated in older people. They zeroed in on two clusters of genes whose activity was associated with the production of a potent circulating inflammatory protein called IL-1-beta. The genes within each cluster appeared to work in coordination with one another. The researchers found that incubating a type of immune cell with two of those nucleic-acid metabolites boosted activity in one of the gene clusters, resulting in increased IL-1-beta production. When injected into mice, the substances triggered massive systemic inflammation, along with high blood pressure. In addition, immune cells infiltrated and clogged the animals' kidneys, increasing renal pressure substantially. Intrigued by the correlation between older participants' health, gene-cluster activation and self-reported rates of caffeine consumption, the researchers followed up and verified that blood from the group with low cluster activity was enriched for caffeine and a number of its metabolites, compared with blood from the group with high cluster activity. (Examples of these metabolites are theophylline, also found in tea, and theobromine, which abounds in chocolate.) Incubating immune cells with caffeine and its breakdown products along with the inflammation-triggering nucleic acid metabolites substantially prevented the latter from exerting their powerful inflammatory effect on the cells.
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Caffeine May Counter Age-Related Inflammation, Says Study

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  • How frequently we hear studies how certain lucrative industries, like one where there is a margin of 700%-2000% in the product, "it is amazing for your health".
    What a coincidence this was broadcast in the news earlier on today too.
    Someone must be paying $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
    • Re:IT is amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @08:34AM (#53682195)

      How frequently we hear studies how certain lucrative industries, like one where there is a margin of 700%-2000% in the product, "it is amazing for your health". What a coincidence this was broadcast in the news earlier on today too. Someone must be paying $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

      Laziness and impatience drives obscene profit margins within the coffee industry. It's still fairly easy to still spend pennies on a cup of coffee, if you're willing to get off your ass, grind a few beans, and brew a cup. Most people prefer whistling for a dog named Starbucks or shove a pod into a machine to whip up a coffee-like substance fast enough to not be a burden on a FOMO lifestyle.

      • Re:IT is amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @09:08AM (#53682305) Journal
        This. In addition, it seems a safe bet the the sugary, cream-laden concoctions that pass for coffee at Fivebucks negate any possible health benefit of caffeine consumption.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Giver: prostate is flushed
          Receiver: prostate is massaged

          End effect: toxins are removed from prostate

          Not kidding. Not a troll.

        • You could switch to pure espresso shots.

        • the sugary, cream-laden concoctions that pass for coffee at Fivebucks

          It's actually possible to get a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I do it once in a while, when no better alternative presents itself. Just try ordering a "medium black coffee". The employees understand English if you speak clearly.

          I admit it's not very good coffee, given Starbucks' propensity for using an excessively dark roast and then burning the coffee anyway, but I've had worse.

          • There's a Fivebucks (near a bank branch I frequent) that I use when no better alternative presents itself, and you are spot on.

            In our locale, the no frills-no sugar-no cream-regular black blend of liquid concentration is Pike's Place. It is downright caliginous, and, more often than you would suspect for a specialty coffee retailer, often left on the heat way too long.

      • I am the ultimate in lazy. All my coffee is free at work...

        One cup in the morning with a bit of non-dairy creamer... my FOMO lifestyle is in force!

        • Free work coffee is the only way we do our jobs here.

          That and cheap breakfast tacos in the cafeteria are the only reasons I show up at a reasonable hour.

      • Laziness and impatience drives obscene profit margins within the coffee industry. It's still fairly easy to still spend pennies on a cup of coffee, if you're willing to get off your ass, grind a few beans, and brew a cup. Most people prefer whistling for a dog named Starbucks or shove a pod into a machine to whip up a coffee-like substance fast enough to not be a burden on a FOMO lifestyle.

        Quit being such judgmental snob. I do all three; it depends on the situation I'm in, and nothing to do with FOMO. There are times when I want a coffee and I'm not at home or not at work: Starbucks or Biggby [biggby.com], usually with a triple shot of espresso. When I'm at work, I use my Keurig. I find certain K-cups [keurig.com] make great coffee. When we're camping we grind our own and use a percolator over coals. Definitely the roughest cups of coffee I drink, but then again, I'm out in the woods.

      • Re:IT is amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @10:28AM (#53682685) Homepage Journal
        Most folks drink stale coffee. Try roasting your own (I use Sweet Maria's for supplies) or going somewhere with a roaster on site who is honest enough to tell you the roast date. It should be from 2 to 10 days ago. Flavor development in coffee is a rancidification process. Like cheese, you want to catch it when it is a little, but not too, rancid.
        • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @11:00AM (#53682825) Homepage

          Ha. To fooey with your own roasting! I hand forge axes from native iron filings patiently gathered by local native tribesman from old railroad ties. I use the axe to cut down first growth Yellow Cedar, strip the bark to make kindling, split the wood (I do use a match, gotta account for modern technology somehow), roast the beans on hot granite rocks and grind them with river stones.

          I did go out to WalMart to get a French Press because the natives around here just had to interact with Russians and they were more into vodka than coffee.....

          The stuff is just wonderful. Except I'm too sore and tired to do anything else.

          • bah! lazy bum. Used store bought beans. I grow my own coffee shrub. And I have my own civet cat. And you have no idea how the fruit pulp gets removed and the bean is made available.
            • I grow my own coffee shrub.

              Sure - who doesn't? - but if you're just using any old dirt to grow it in, you're missing out. I only drink coffee made from plants I grow in my carefully designed soil blend, on my private mountain.

      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        700% for resellers (aka normal coffee shops - cheap expressos - plenty of them here, it is a culture), 2000%-3000% for distributors, 3000%-4000% for starbucks.
      • And with the right coffee maker (BUNN Velocity Brew) [amazon.com], you can brew a whole pot in 3 minutes.
      • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

        It's still fairly easy to still spend pennies on a cup of coffee, if you're willing to get off your ass

        I save a bunch while being lazy. I make cold brew at home. I spend about as much time as I would on a single pot of coffee, but it makes concentrate that lasts a couple of weeks. As usual Walmart has good prices if you are ok with the brands they carry.

        Also for sweetening cold coffee drinks, making simple sugar is dirt cheap and easy and can last a while too.

        All said, with milk and sugar, I average around 75 cents per 16oz glass. Compare that with around $4 for the same at Starbucks.

        (I've worked at a co

      • I think were it just laziness and impatience, you'd see coffee vending machines as they have in Japan. When I'm getting coffee at starbucks it's because I can feel the withdrawal mild headache coming on and I'm not at home. If it was between spending $6 for a can and being on my way in a few seconds and $2 for a hand-made silly frilly coffee art that the barista takes 10 minutes to get to, I would choose the can every time just for convenience. Yet they usually don't have their canned stuff out in their sto
        • Japanese can coffee is quite enjoyable and super convenient - push a button and scan a contactless EDY or transit card, and you have your beverage for about $1 and in less than 5 seconds. That said, I can see why it didn't take off here. People are like "hot beverage in a metal can, won't that hurt your hand?" herp-derp and then proceed to burn their hand on the paper cup they just waited 5 minutes for, because putting said paper cup into the cardboard sleeve is not in the $15/hr Starbucks employee's job

      • by DiEx-15 ( 959602 )

        Laziness and impatience drives obscene profit margins within the coffee industry. It's still fairly easy to still spend pennies on a cup of coffee, if you're willing to get off your ass, grind a few beans, and brew a cup. Most people prefer whistling for a dog named Starbucks or shove a pod into a machine to whip up a coffee-like substance fast enough to not be a burden on a FOMO lifestyle.

        I make Folgers Coffee from a drip coffee machine. My morning brain fuel.

        I don't need those fancy cup pod coffee makers or that fancy Starfucks that costs more than a can of Folgers. Young'uns are so noob to the joys of coffee. Back in my day I had to go to an actual store and get a can of coffee and then actually make the coffee.

        Now get the Hell off my lawn!

      • by K10W ( 1705114 )

        Laziness and impatience drives obscene profit margins within the coffee industry. It's still fairly easy to still spend pennies on a cup of coffee, if you're willing to get off your ass, grind a few beans, and brew a cup......... Starbucks or shove a pod into a machine to whip up a coffee-like substance.

        Couldn't agree more, if they bothered not only would they get it cheaper but also better. Starbucks and pods are both average coffee for way above average price, the beans are sometimes good at the start but have spoiled in treatment: cheap air dry process like a lot of African can collect a lot of crap (literally) and often not processed properly and can go off, wet process tends to be better but can also be done wrong. The off flavours are often due to this cheap processing bacterial/mould issue rather t

    • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @09:09AM (#53682311)

      Perthaps, although coffee is only one source of caffeine.

      Coffee is one of the most researched drinks on the planet though, partially because it is drunk so much. Another reason is because back in the 80's everyone assumed it must be bad for you and started a bunch of studies to prove how it is bad for "X,Y, and Z". As it turns out, everything they thought it would cause it ended up helping. Coffee really does have a lot of benefits (and some down sides). Diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's disease... turns out it can help a lot of things.

      If only Superman drank coffee he might have become immune to kryptonite*.

      * untested theory

      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        Coffee is far from pure, and they mix up a lot of other stuff to even boost a already *very* profitable industry. Many people also mix coffee with sugar, sweeteners or cream, which make you fat and fuck up your brain, and if I sincerely doubt that it helps in something pure, it will surely wont help when mixed with that garbage. Not to mention that most creams are made of chemicals and not actually milk, but that is a bed time horror story.
      • by chihowa ( 366380 )

        If only Superman drank coffee he might have become immune to kryptonite*.

        Superman has already moved on from caffeine. [smbc-comics.com]

  • nice (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @08:06AM (#53682141)

    That means I AM IMMORTAL!

    All hail the dew.

    Why are you shaking like that?

  • by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @08:23AM (#53682177) Homepage

    Low dose aspitin is commonly recommended for those at risk of heart problems. It is an anti-inflamitory, anti-coagulant and arguably even cheaper than caffiene.

    • Long term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ("NSAID") use causes stomach and intestinal ulcers.

      I'm talking from experience.

      Your body runs on hormones. Medicines have side effects because when you block a hormone responsible for multiple things (as they almost always are), you shut off ALL of those activities. Blocking the hormone that is responsible for inflammation, additionally shuts down it's other useful effects. It 1. Shuts down the generation of a protective layer for your stomach lining/intestines. 2.

      • Let's not forget the effect of helicobacter pylori bacteria on ulcers, they are in general held to be the main cause these days.

        I have another theory about the beneficial effect of aspirin, caffine, etc. We evolved with them. Our diet was rich in salycilates and chemicals similar to theobromine or caffine. They came from the plants we ate, some of which were mildly toxic and which we evolved to process to the point that we became dependent on some of their effects. There are a lot of things in the primitive

    • "Low dose aspitin is commonly recommended for those at risk of heart problems. It is an anti-inflamitory, anti-coagulant and arguably even cheaper than caffiene."

      It doesn't have to be coffee, I take 2 pills of 200 mg pure caffeine before my morning workout, so that I don't have to drink several cups of coffee and spend my workout on the toilet.

    • Bah. Only barbarians take store-bought aspirin. If you're not making your own from your carefully selected and cultivated willow trees, you're...

      Sorry. The coffee thread was played out.

  • by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <salgak.speakeasy@net> on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @08:51AM (#53682247) Homepage

    Caffiene, Nicotine, Preservatives, and Raw White Sugar. . . . powering Hackers since 1967. . .

  • Caffeine is drunk almost everywhere in the world, and is part of a lot of (often conflicting) studies. But what about studying the effects of chicory for instance, or fresh lemon juice, or almond milk...? Maybe we could find something else that has the benefits of the coffee without the downside?
    • But what about studying the effects of chicory for instance, or fresh lemon juice, or almond milk...?

      Walnuts are great for reducing blood cholesterol levels. But . . . large pharmaceutical companies can't patent walnuts, so they have no incentive to fund studies with walnuts. Well, maybe Monsanto or that creepy Shkreli monstrosity might find a way to patent walnuts.

      Any, if munching on walnuts is not your thing try drinking them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Straight up, or on the rocks . . .

      • Nut or gland derived milk is not my thing.

        I do, however, enjoy an ice cold cup of unsweetened soy drink. Over cereal is great too.

    • A box of "True Lemon", about $40 for a bulk box 500 little packets, will give you a year's worth of lemon in your water. I started to get gout. But not since I increased my citric acid intake.
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      engrish alert... drunk?
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      find something else that has the benefits of the coffee without the downside?

      WhAt DoWnSiDe, PriCk!

    • Tea.

      Green tea.

  • by poofmeisterp ( 650750 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @11:49AM (#53683037) Journal

    Disclaimer:
    No Stanford University students were funded by any corporations or industry conglomerates that are tied in any way to the selling of caffeinated products, we may say, in connection to manipulation of data in any of studies for their own gain. Maybe.

  • ... at a counter, so I'm low risk.

  • Over the years, I've seen at least a dozen coffee research papers come out with a wide mix of good & bad news.

    I average it all and conclude coffee is officially "meh" in terms of health.

  • that's probably how its clearing your body of breakdown products. mystery solved.
  • The bean of the coffee makes the thoughts quicken, the pulse increase;
    The breath is a warning to others
    For he is the Kwikii Mart Haderach!

  • Obviously caffeine does not reduce an inflammatory response.

    Well, at least not on the Internet...

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