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Drinking Coffee Can Lower Risk of Suicide

Update Date: Jul 25, 2013 02:46 PM EDT
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For a lot of people, waking up in the morning is synonymous with drinking a cup or more of coffee. Fortunately for caffeine addicts, several research studies have found numerous health benefits of drinking a certain amount of coffee per day. Now, according to a new study, coffee might have mental health benefits as well. This study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), found that drinking coffee might be effective in lowering suicide risks.

"Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee," the lead researcher, Michel Lucas said according to Medical Xpress. Lucas is a research fellow in the HSPH's Department of Nutrition.

For this study, the researchers used data compiled from three large U.S. studies. The combined data involved 43, 599 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, 73,820 women from the Nurses' Health Study and 91,005 women from the Nurses' Health Study II. The researchers were able to measure caffeine, coffee and decaffeinated coffee consumption from the questionnaires that were administered every four years. Although the studies looked at numerous sources of caffeine, the most popular source for caffeine in all three studies was coffee.

The data revealed that from all three studies, there were a total of 277 suicides. Based from these statistics, the researchers were able to conclude that drinking two to four cups of caffeinated coffee a day could lower the risk of suicide by one half when compared to people who drank decaffeinated coffee or very little to no coffee at all. Although the researchers found a link between coffee consumption and suicide risk, they do not recommend people to start drinking coffee or to drink more in their attempt to reduce their suicide risk.

"Overall, our results suggest that there is little further benefit for consumption above two to three cups/day or 400 mg of caffeine/day," the authors stated in their study.

The study was provided by the Harvard Gazette. It was published in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry

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