Coffee Boosts Survival in Colorectal Cancer Patients

Coffee is loaded with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and can protect against disease
January 25, 2021 Updated: January 25, 2021

Does coffee help you get through the day? If so, you may be poised to live a longer, healthier life thanks to these truly magical beans.

Coffee, one of the world’s most popular beverages, is revealing a range of potential health benefits. Loaded with antioxidants, coffee has been shown to imbue anti-inflammatory properties and disease protection when consumed in moderation.

Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute published a large observational study nested within a clinical trial of novel drug treatments for patients with colorectal cancer. The study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, analyzed dietary patterns and long-term health outcomes for a cohort of patients who had completed phase 3 of the randomized clinical trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

Data was collected from more than 1,500 patients being treated for advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer. Dietary intake and lifestyle questionnaires were obtained during and post-treatment, then correlated and analyzed for patterns over time.

Specific analysis of coffee intake was included, with participants being excluded from the coffee cohort for aberrant caloric intake ( less than 600 or more than 4200 calories for men; or less than 500 or or more than 3500 calories for women) and if cancer had worsened or death had occurred within 90 days of enrollment. Final data analysis was performed on information from 1,171 patients.

Patients who reported drinking two to three cups of coffee a day were likely to live longer overall and had a longer time before their disease worsened compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. In good news for the caffeine-sensitive, the anticancer benefits were observed in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee drinkers.

These results confirmed the findings of prior studies on coffee’s effects on cancer and add scientific weight to coffee’s growing reputation as a disease-fighting superfood. But can more of a good thing be too much?

Another Cup of Coffee?

Despite such promising research findings, many believe that drinking multiple cups of coffee each day can lead to ill health. For individuals with caffeine sensitivities, moderation should be exercised. That being said, for the colorectal cancer patients enrolled in this study, the benefits increased the more coffee they consumed.

The impressive life-extending and cancer-delaying benefits were observed at two to three cups daily, however the greatest measure of benefit was observed in patients who consumed four or more cups each day.

Researchers posit that these benefits may be related to coffee’s ability to decrease blood insulin levels by sensitizing tissues to the effects of insulin, or to coffee’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic (tumor-inhibiting) effects.

Coffee’s Anticancer Effects

While this study highlights the association between daily coffee consumption and improved outcomes in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, the authors point out that association does not equal causation and further study is needed to determine if there is a causal relationship.

According to senior author, Dr. Kimmie Ng, “Although it is premature to recommend a high intake of coffee as a potential treatment for colorectal cancer, our study suggests that drinking coffee is not harmful and may potentially be beneficial.”

Since coffee’s anticancer effects have been demonstrated on a variety of different cancers, including colorectal, liver, breast, head, and neck cancers, its potential as an anticancer treatment is attracting attention from researchers.

A meta-analysis examining coffee consumption and colorectal cancer risk detected a significant protective effect from coffee in seven U.S. studies. But the health benefits of coffee may offer a veil of protection for both body and mind.

Coffee for Disease Prevention and Longer Life

Coffee consumption was the focus of a meta-analysis of the PubMed and Web of Science research databases through March 2019 reviewing 40 studies involving nearly 4 million individuals. Researchers found that intakes of around 3.5 cups of coffee per day lowered the risk of all-cause mortality, results that were irrespective of age, weight, alcohol consumption, smoking status and caffeine content of the coffee.

Another impressive benefit of coffee involves its ability to stabilize the body’s insulin response. In a meta-analysis published in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care journal, which included 28 studies involving more than 1.1 million people, coffee consumption was shown to be inversely associated with the risk of Type 2 diabetes, another effect that was dose-dependent and applied to both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee types.

Coffee: Good for Energy and Mood

While the energy-boosting effects of coffee are legendary, did you know that coffee can also improve your mood? A 2011 study showed that coffee can stimulate the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with enhanced mood effects, in the brain. That said, some people also experience a drop in mood after the coffee buzz wears off.

To learn more about the holistic benefits of coffee, explore the scientific abstracts on

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