I have written numerous articles on steps you can take to reduce your risk
of Alzheimer’s disease. And earlier this week, I shared some news about a potential cause of Parkinson’s disease that you should avoid at all costs.
Today, I want to share some promising new research about Multiple Sclerosis (MS), another serious disorder that affects the brain and nervous system.
Turns out, drinking coffee significantly reduces your risk of developing MS. And it may even help control symptoms and relapses in MS patients.
Experts estimate more than 2.3 million people worldwide have this devastating disease. But it remains largely a mystery, even to experts.
We do know, in people with MS, the immune system attacks the protective coating of nerve fibers, called the myelin sheath. This fatty myelin sheath essentially insulates the nerve fibers. Saturated fats and cholesterol help build and maintain healthy myelin. So, that’s one reason why statin drugs that poison cholesterol metabolism never made sense to me as a path to health.
We also now understand MS has a strong connection to vitamin D and sun exposure. In fact, MS risk goes up the further you live away from the equator.
Plus, we now know you need far more vitamin D daily than the clueless Institute of Medicine recommends. Actually, new studies suggest the IOM’s vitamin D recommendations are off by off by a factor of 10.
So, if you have MS, you should certainly work with a qualified physician who can help map out a nutritional plan, which should include daily vitamin D supplementation. For the general population, I recommend everyone take at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily. And perhaps even more if you suffer from MS.
Now, onto the good news about coffee…
At the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. this month, researchers from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) will present evidence that coffee-drinking reduces MS risk.
I consistently report on the many benefits of coffee consumption, despite the mainstream’s persistent efforts to find something wrong with coffee/caffeine over the decades.
Of course, previous studies suggest coffee consumption can protect against other neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease. So it generally makes sense MS may benefit from coffee as well.
For the latest report, JHU researchers analyzed data from two previous studies. The first study from Sweden involved 1,629 people with MS and 2,807 healthy controls. The second study from the U.S. involved 1,159 people with MS and 1,172 control participants. Both studies recorded coffee consumption at 10 years, five years, and one year before onset of MS.
They found men and women who consumed at least four cups of coffee per day had a reduced risk of developing MS. By contrast, men and women who didn’t drink coffee had a 50 percent greater chance of developing MS.
Of course, much of the credit falls on the role of caffeine, coffee’s powerful natural constituent. As I alluded to earlier, caffeine has many neuro-protective properties. It also suppresses inflammation. Both these actions are important for MS prevention and treatment. In fact, Ellen Mowry, MD, the study’s lead researcher, said we should study caffeine’s impact on relapses and long-term disability in MS.
Other recent studies show moderate coffee consumption helps prevent Type II diabetes and reduces the risk of tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Given the fact that caffeine has neuro-protective and anti-inflammatory properties, it makes sense it would protect blood sugar control and hearing. (Subscribers to my Insiders’ Guide newsletter can learn about five nutrients proven to help reverse hearing loss in the April 2015 issue. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.) Additional studies show coffee even protects against malignant skin cancer and endometrial cancer in women.
So go ahead and enjoy a few cups of coffee today. Just make sure to leave out the sugar and other sweeteners.
Here’s what else I covered in this week’s Daily Dispatch…
- “Can Coffee Reduce Your Risk of MS?” Newswise (www.newswise.com) 2/12/2015