Yes, unfortunately, for all the good that coffee can do a person -- like increase alertness, reduce Type 2 Diabetes, and reduce the risk of suicide -- drinking a bit too much can be fatal. For some.
A recent Mayo Clinic study found that the risk of death for people under the age of 55 is 21 percent greater if they consume 28 or more cups of coffee per week. That's four cups of coffee a day (for those who haven't had enough of a coffee jolt to do the math).
The research, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, resulted from a longevity study of 43,727 people (33,900 men and 9,827 women) whose ages ranged from 20 to 87. Answering questionnaires from 1979 to 1998 about their lifestyles, scientists were able to find the disturbing news within the data.
The median time within the study for participants was 17 years. Within that time, 2,512 people died. After following up with the study participants, it was found that 87.5 percent of those that died were men and 12.5 percent of them were women.
The fact that people 55 and younger being one-fifth more likely to die if they drank four or more cups of coffee per day led researchers to note that younger coffee drinkers that drink large quantities of the beverage were more at risk than older, since drinking four or more cups of coffee a day for those over 55 did not seem to increase their mortality rate at all. This suggested that younger people might want to consider drinking less coffee.
The higher mortality rate among heavy coffee drinkers was also linked to people more likely to smoke and those less likely to engage in activities promoting good cardiorespiratory health.
The moral of the story? Everything in moderation, including your coffee intake.
And while you're cutting down on your coffee, try to cut back on your smoking or quit altogether. And exercise a little more. Do the latter two and you'll undoubtedly increase your life expectancy even if you continue to drink four cups of coffee per day.
Still, as with most things, too much of a good thing can often be bad for you...
(photo credit: cyclonebill, Creative Commons)