Love coffee! Go ahead and indulge in the second cup, or even third or a fourth cup of your favorite beverage! You may be protecting yourself against depression and suicide, claims a novel study.

The study found drinking a few cups of a coffee a day appears to lower the risk of dying by suicide in men and women by 50 percent.

The good feeling produced by java apparently comes from caffeine’s impact on the nervous system. According to experts, caffeine may act like a mild antidepressant by boosting the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. This in turn enhances happiness and lowers the
risk of depression among java junkies.

Review of 3 large studies
In order to determine if caffeine can help ameliorate depression and prevent suicide, the researchers reviewed data from three large U.S. studies.

They evaluated 43,599 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up study (from 1988 to 2008), 73,820 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (from 1992 to 2008), and 91,005 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (from 1993 to 2007).

For the purpose of the study, the participant’s intake of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and caffeine in general (chocolate, tea, soft drinks, etc.) was weighed every four years through questionnaires.

It came as no big surprise that coffee made up 80 percent of caffeine intake. Among the entire group of participants in the three studies, 277 deaths were from suicide.

Revelations of the study
The analysis revealed that individuals who drank two, three, or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day are less likely to commit suicide compared to those who consumed decaffeinated coffee or non coffee drinkers.

“Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee,” said lead author, Michal Lucas, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School Of Public Health.

A word of caution
Despite caffeine’s elevating influence on mood, experts feel it’s premature to recommend that depressed adults include two to three cups of coffee daily in their diet.

“This is because most individuals adjust their caffeine intake to an optimal level for them and an increase could result in unpleasant side effects. Overall, our results suggest that there is little further benefit for consumption above two to three cups/day or 400 mg of caffeine/day,” the study states.

The findings are documented in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

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