Can caffeine really cut the risk of suicide?
As any self-confessed java junkie will tell you, that coffee infusion a couple times a day does wonders for their mood. Now, there’s evidence to suggest that caffeine may prevent suicide.
According to a new study published this month in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, an intake of 400 mg of caffeine—the equivalent of about two to four cups a day—lowered the risk of suicide among adults by as much as 50 percent.
The researchers analyzed data from three separate national health studies conducted between 1988 and 2008, which included a total of 43,599 men and 164,825 women. The subjects’ consumption of caffeine, coffee and decaffeinated coffee were assessed every four years through a questionnaire. Among the three study groups, 277 deaths from suicide were documented.
Upon comparison, the researchers found that those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day showed a 45 percent decreased risk of suicide, while those who reported drinking four or more daily cups lessened their risk by 53 percent.
The researchers concluded that caffeine intake increases the brain’s production of neurotransmitters, which enhance mood and act as mild antidepressants.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that those who are depressed should start self-medicating with large cups of java every day, says Dr. Shastri Swaminathan, psychiatrist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago,
“People who may be depressed should seek medical attention not go to a coffee shop,” he says.
Additionally, he says increased caffeine consumption can lead to other very real health complications, including elevated blood pressure, nervousness, restlessness, insomnia and muscle tremors.
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