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Comment & Response
December 2018

The Alleged Health-Protective Effects of Coffee

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, Reykjavík University, Reykjavík, Iceland
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(12):1723-1724. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.5798

To the Editor Using UK Biobank data from more than 400 000 people, Loftfield and colleagues1 examined associations between coffee drinking and mortality. Uniquely among observational studies of coffee and health, study participants were assigned a genetic caffeine metabolism score based on the presence of common polymorphisms that either facilitate or impair caffeine metabolism. Consistent with a large body of observational evidence,2,3 coffee drinking was found to be inversely associated with mortality. Similar associations were observed in both slow and fast metabolizers, which implicated noncaffeine bioactive compounds (eg, polyphenols) as the source of coffee’s apparent health-protective effects.

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