COFFEE: Getting it Straight–Perks or Plights to Health and Healing?

Are you a caffeine lover? For many years coffee drinkers have been battling with the debate as to whether the benefits of caffeine outweigh the detriments/ Find out more about current research on caffeine and coffee and decide whether it is beneficial to you.

Research Showing Benefits of Caffeine
Scientists have known for many years that caffeine can be beneficial to health. However, most are cautious about recommending ingesting or drinking lots of coffee on a regular basis. Some of the benefits of caffeine, in moderation, documented by scientific research are:

  • increases memory
  • detoxes the liver and cleanses the colon as an enema
  • keeps you alert and awake, as a stimulant
  • replenishes muscle glycogen concentrations faster after exerciseMan Sleeping on Computer
  • relieves pain associated with sleep loss better than analgesics
  • stimulates hair growth on balding men and women
  • may reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • helps prevent Alzheimer’s
  • relieves post-workout muscle pain by up to 48%.
  • increases stamina during exercise
  • preventative for cataracts
  • preventative for skin cancer in mice
  • preventative for eyelid spasms
  • reduces risk of developing melanoma
  • lower risk of suicide
  • reduces fatty liver in those with non-alcohol related fatty liver disease
  • reduce liver fibrosis risk in patients with hepatitis C
  • helps treat asthma symptoms, when inhaler is unavailable
  • reduce risk of ED (erectile dysfunction)
  • increases semen volume and significantly less sperm DNA fragmentation
  • prevention of tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • reduces driver errors and distraction
  • prevents weight gain
  • reduces kidney stone risk and mortality rate in those with chronic kidney disease
  • improves reaction time and logical reasoning
  • reduces chronic inflammation

A recent 2017 study in the journal, Nature Medicine, found that older people with low levels of inflammation had something in common.  Mark Davis, David Furman, and colleagues from the Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection (ITI) at Stanford University, analyzed blood samples from 100 subjects ranging in age. Those who were older, generally had more inflammation throughout the body, which was to be expected.


However, the key common factor was that  older subjects who had lower levels of inflammation, were all caffeine drinkers. Furman and his colleagues are planning another study with 1,000 people to determine the risk factor in developing chronic inflammatory diseases (such as Type 2 diabetes, heart problems, joint disorders, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s, and others).


Research on the Benefits of Coffee
Current research has shown some direct benefits to drinking coffee, however, this is not meant to be an endorsement for one to drink large quantities in excess. Some of the benefits include:

  • decrease in heart rhythm disturbance hospitalization
  • reduction of mouth and throat cancer risk by 50%
  • lessens the risk of stroke as much as 22%
  • reduce the risk of several types of cancerBlood Pressure
  • lowers blood pressure
  • decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • decreases appetite and helps with weight loss
  • decreases risk of mortality from the heart attack

It’s important to note that some of the research involved placing caffeine or coffee directly on the body part, instead of ingesting the coffee (for example, on the head in the case of baldness). When caffeine or coffee is ingested it can have harmful effects, especially to the brain, central nervous system, cardiovascular and digestive system. We’ve reviewed the benefits of caffeine and coffee, when drinking in moderation, however, it’s important to note that over-indulgence of coffee can be very detrimental.


Man stomach ache

What are Some Harmful Effects of Coffee?
Although there are many benefits of caffeine and coffee, studies show that there can be some harmful side effects to drinking coffee. 

  • increase of hydrochloric acid production in the stomach
  • increased risk of ulcers
  • increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome
  • increased acidity
  • can be addictive and result in caffeine withdrawal symptoms
  • irritates stomach lining
  • aggravates acid reflux syndrome (GERD)
  • aggravates heartburn
  • promotes increased gastric emptying
  • increased stomach inflammation
  • depletes mineral absorption (calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron)
  • increased Acrylamide (potential carcinogenic, cancer-causing substance)
  • increased release of stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, causing anxiety
  • increased heart rate
  • increased risk for heart attack
  • increased blood pressure
  • lowers fertility
  • impaired glucose metabolism for type 2 diabetics
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • incontinence
  • increases risk of fibrocystic breast disease
  • diarrhea or constipation

Talk to Your Trusted Health Professional
As you can see, some benefits are also listed as potentially harmful effects. For example, coffee or caffeine ingestion can both increase or decrease blood pressure. It’s important for each person to discuss the beneficial and/or potentially harmful effects of caffeine or coffee on the body. Be honest with your trusted healthcare professional. How often do you drink coffee or other caffeine drinks such as black tea, energy drinks, or soda? Are you experiencing digestive disorders, stress or anxiety, headache? Do you have any underlying illnesses or health conditions that might be worsened by an increase in caffeine consumption? Or perhaps do you have a health condition that might benefit from caffeine in moderation where other supplements and medical treatments have failed. We live in a wonderful world where research is readily available. You can read the research, listen to your body, talk to your trusted health professional, and make wise decisions on how to take care of yourself because no one knows your body better than you!


Resources and References
15 Terrible Side Effects of Coffee You Need to Know About, Positive Health Wellness

25+ Top Caffeine Health Benefits, The Caffeine Informer

Age-Related Inflammation Reduced by Caffeine, Medical Bag, HealthDay News

Caffeine may counter age-related inflammation, Stanford Medicine News Center

Ferré,Sergi, MD, PhD, Editor; Journal of Caffeine and Adenosine Research

Furman D, et al. Expression Of Specific Inflammasome Gene Modules Stratifies Older Individuals Into Two Extreme Clinical And Immunological States. Nature Medicine. 2017. doi: 10.1038/nm.4267

Meredith,Steven E., Caffeine Use Disorder: A Comprehensive Review and Research Agenda;  Journal of Caffeine Research

Penetar, David, et al; Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans, Food Components to Enhance Performance: An Evaluation of Potential Performance-Enhancing Food Components for Operational Rations, National Academies Press, 1994

Sanders, Helen;  Caffeine Addiction – Myth or Reality? Health Ambition

The Buzz on Coffee, WebMD



Jean E. DartJean Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University, is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder, and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, a 501(c)3 health education nonprofit organization. All photos used in this article are by unless otherwise noted. To find out more about our Health Educators, or to apply as a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance writer or volunteer, visit our website at

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