Tags: Depression | suicide risk | coffee | depression | antidepressant | caffeine | mental health

Coffee Cuts Suicide Risk in Half: Harvard Study

Friday, 26 Jul 2013 12:27 PM

There's more good news for java junkies: Drinking several cups of coffee every day may reduce their risk of suicide by 50 percent. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) reviewed data from three large studies and found that men and women who drink two to four cups of coffee daily had half the risk of suicide as those who drank very little or no coffee or those who chose decaffeinated.

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Lead researcher Michel Lucas identified caffeine as the most likely reason for coffee's protective effect. In addition to stimulating the central nervous system, caffeine may also function as a mild antidepressant by increasing the production of specific neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline.
 
In spite of the results of their study, the authors don't recommend adults increase their intake of caffeine, and note that most people naturally increase caffeine to levels optimal for them, and additional caffeine could cause side effects.
 
"Overall, our results suggest that there is little further benefit for consumption above 2-3 cups/day or 400 mg of caffeine/day," the authors wrote.
 
However, previous research at HSPH found that coffee's maximum effect on depression occurred when four or more cups were consumed each day.
 
To read the entire story from the Harvard School of Public Health, go here.
 

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