Can coffee stop you from getting MS?

Don’t put down that cup of joe just yet. An MS specialist weighs in on a study that says coffee may lower your risk.

I came across a news article that finally validated my coffee habit. The study touts that drinking coffee is tied to a lower risk for developing multiple sclerosis (MS). And we’re not talking one cup, but upward of five full cups of coffee a day.

But then that little voice of reason that likes to suck the fun out of everything spoke up and said, maybe you should verify this information. So I reached out to Jenifer Patterson, APRN, MSCN, certified multiple sclerosis nurse with Norton Neuroscience Institute, to help me clarify the facts on coffee consumption and MS.

“The connection between caffeine and how it can impact neurological degenerative disease risk has been studied for the past decade, especially focused on Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease,” Patterson said. “So it makes sense that MS would be mentioned in association with the outcomes.”

The study cites a substantial decreased risk of developing this neurological disorder that commonly affects young adults. It also is linked to reduced progression of disability in a type called relapsing MS.

Truth be told, Patterson and many of her colleagues agree that more research is needed on this subject.

“I feel that the initial studies are great and show evidence of potential impact, but we just don’t have enough data to draw conclusions,” she said.

Patterson encourages those thinking of increasing their caffeine intake to consult their primary care provider and discuss the risks and potential benefits.

“Caffeine is a stimulant and can impact other parts of the body, such as the heart and bladder,” she said. “So make sure you understand the impact so that you can make a well-informed decision.”

Also consider what more coffee and caffeinated beverages mean for your overall sugar or artificial sweetener intake. And remember, caffeine also can cause dehydration.

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