Those who drink two to four cups of coffee a day are about 50 percent less likely to commit suicide, a recent study found.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed three major U.S. studies and determined that caffeinated beverages, like coffee, act as antidepressants. Their findings were published this month in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.
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"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," lead researcher Michel Lucas
, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH, said in a statement.
Coffee drinkers tend to be less depressed because of the increased production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline.
The researchers, however, stressed moderation. They found that there were no added benefits in consuming more than two to three cups of coffee a day. They also found that noncoffee drinkers who suddenly pick up the habit probably won't benefit.
"This is because most individuals adjust their caffeine intake to an optimal level for them and an increase could result in unpleasant side effects. 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 study states.
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