Poor Hulk …
If the Hulk had just gone to Starbucks after gamma-ray girding and ordered a nice, big, dark roast, he probably would not have gone into hulk. Hulk would have saved a lot of money because he did not have to bring so many separate pants for the tailor. But no, it did not happen. Now Hulk smashes. Now Hulk is destroyed. And now Hulk is sad.
Coffee, it seems, prevents or somehow leads to the repair of damaged DNA, at least according to some researchers from Bratislava. In their article published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was reported that daily drinking of 500 ml of freshly brewed, dark roasted coffee resulted in a 23% reduction in "DNA strand breaks" for 4 weeks (1
Your study 100 healthy men and women recruited from a general Central European population. The subjects were randomized into a coffee group and a water group. (No double-blind placebo design was needed, as we all assume that DNA is not prone to the placebo effect.)
The researchers concluded that "… the regular consumption of a dark roast mixture is a beneficial protective effect for the DNA integrity of humans in men and women. "
Perhaps the reduction in DNA damage by 23% had been sufficient to save the Hulk, or had at least led to him having a few green nuances was something less aggravated.
Why is this huge
? DNA is the repository of genetic information in the cell, and it is critical that its integrity remains intact. Due to a relentless attack from the environment (sunlight, chemicals, radiation, exercise, and oxidative damage in general), our drunk cells can experience up to 1,000,000 DNA changes every day. Unrepaired, these changes can lead to mutations and possibly diseases.
It's a pretty sure bet that these mutations will not make you a hulk, but they can cause a green, honking tumor in your liver.
In most cases, our bodies repair much of this damage through the action of various enzymes. Nevertheless it could always need some help. For this reason, it seems wise to drink about 16 ounces of dark roasted coffee (the amount used in the Bratislava study) per day to protect the integrity of the DNA.
More coffee, less common death
Coffee's protective effects on DNA could explain why other studies have shown that it has a profound effect on lifespan. A 2012 mortality study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that coffee drinkers had between 6 and 16 percent fewer deaths (2).
Even more impressive was a Japanese study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that showed that coffee drinkers lost 24% less during a 19-year follow-up period (3).
The sweet spot appears to be at least 3 to 4 cups per day in these studies
Why does it work?
Coffee has more than 1,000 biologically active compounds. So it would be a caffeine headache of a research task to figure out which or which combination of these chemicals was responsible.
However, studies have shown that two common coffee polyphenols-caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid-cause changes in DNA methylation, suppressing tumor formation and generally reducing inflammation.
Use of this information
While the Slavic Res researchers used a dark Arabica roast, studies have shown that there is a higher content of polyphenolic compounds in light or medium roasts. It seems that the more intensively you roast a coffee, the more antioxidant potential you lose (through the loss of polyphenols).
So, if the polyphenol content is the reason, then coffee has a protective effect on the DNA (and therefore on the lifespan). then it would be more useful, despite the findings of the scientists from Bratislava to choose the light or medium roast over dark.
The healthiest coffee to drink
How to coat the coffee
- Schipp, Dorothea et al.: "Consuming a dark roasted coffee mixture reduces DNA damage in humans: results of a 4-week randomized controlled trial "European Journal of Nutrition, Nov. 17, 2018.
- Freedman, Neal et al.," Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Causative Mortality, "New England Journal of Medicine, May 17, 2012.
- Eito Saito et al, "Association of coffee intake with overall and cause-specific mortality in a Japanese population: the Japan Public Health Center-based prospective study" Am J Clin Nutr. 2105, May; 101 (5): 1029-37.