ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 SPACE
* HEALTH
 AIDS
 Aging
 Alternative
 Cancer
 Children
 Diet & Fitness
 Men
 Women
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 ARTS & STYLE
 NATURE
 IN-DEPTH
 ANALYSIS
 myCNN

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

  MULTIMEDIA:
 video
 video archive
 audio
 multimedia showcase
 more services

  E-MAIL:
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Or:
Get a free e-mail account

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 AsiaNow
 En Español
 Em Português
 Svenska
 Norge
 Danmark
 Italian

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 TIME INC. SITES:
 CNN NETWORKS:
Networks image
 more networks
 transcripts

 SITE INFO:
 help
 contents
 search
 ad info
 jobs

 WEB SERVICES:

  health > men > story page AIDSAlternative MedicineCancerDiet & FitnessHeartMenSeniorsWomen

Coffee may reduce risk of gallstones in men

graphic

June 8, 1999
Web posted at: 4:01 p.m. EDT (2001 GMT)

(CNN) -- For millions of people the day doesn't begin until they've had their first cup of coffee. The caffeine in coffee has been associated with an increase in energy and alertness, and now a study says it may help reduce the risk of gallstones in men.

Researchers found men who drank regular coffee -- filtered, instant or espresso -- had a lower risk of gallstone disease.

"We found that men who drank two to three cups of coffee per day had about a 30 to 40 percent reduction in risk of gallstone disease -- and for men who drank four or more cups per day, the risk was cut in half," said Dr. Walter C. Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health.

The 10-year study, published in the June 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, followed 46,008 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The participants included dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, osteopathic physicians and podiatrists ages 40 to 75, with no history of gallstone disease.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston looked at the association between coffee consumption and the risk of symptomatic gallstone disease.

"The inverse association between coffee intake and gallstone disease may be due specifically to the effect of caffeine," the authors wrote.

Though researchers said they do not know exactly why caffeine lowers the risk of gallstones, they have some theories.

"There is quite a bit of evidence that coffee or caffeine itself will increase the contraction of the gallbladder and reduce the chance for stones to build up. And also, coffee or caffeine tends to make it less likely that crystals form in the gallbladder, which is the beginning of a gallstone," Willett said.

While women, who are at greater risk for gallstones, were not included in this research, study authors believe women too can benefit from coffee.

"We of course have to look at this in women, but for the moment there's no reason to believe that the results wouldn't apply to women as well," said Willett.

Coffee has been considered unhealthy, but Willett says that reputation may not be deserved.

"There have been many concerns raised about caffeine, but with the evidence that's coming over the last few years, the concerns about cancer and heart disease tend to have been pretty much dismissed," Willett said.

But coffee is not completely harmless. Caffeine is a stimulant, and too much can cause restlessness or nervousness as well as affect heart rhythms and elevate blood pressure.

Doctors are not ready to recommend coffee for prevention of gallstones. More studies are needed to assess the therapeutic benefits. For now, the study authors say, coffee intake should be based on each individual's health risks.

Medical Correspondent Steve Salvatore contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Food: Coffee
Coffee may not be all bad for you
March, 1996

RELATED SITES:
Journal of the American Medical Association
Harvard School of Public Health
Coffee Science Source
The Coffee Review: Featuring industry expert coffee reviews
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

LATEST HEALTH STORIES:
China SARS numbers pass 5,000
Report: Form of HIV in humans by 1940
Fewer infections for back-sleeping babies
Pneumonia vaccine may help heart, too
 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.