A new study conducted by the National Cancer Institute suggests that coffee can give drinkers more than just a caffeine buzz; it can also lower the risk of developing malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, by a fifth.
Researchers at the NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health, say that earlier studies had shown that coffee could protect against non-melanoma skin cancers, but it had been unclear if the salutary effects extended to melanoma.
The study analyzed data from 447,357 subjects, all non-Hispanic whites, and found that the more coffee they reported drinking, the lower their likelihood of the cancer. Those who consumed four cups or more per day were 20% less likely to develop malignant melanoma than those who consumed none.
According to Medical News Today, more than half the U.S. population drinks 3.1 cups of coffee on average per day.
The latest study’s findings did not hold for people who drink decaffeinated coffee, and do not apply to melanoma in situ, the earliest phases of melanoma that affect only a top layer of skin. The data was taken from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. The participants filled out questionnaires in 1995 and 1996, with a follow-up time of about 10 years. The researchers adjusted for UV radiation exposure, age, sex, body mass index, physical activity levels, alcohol intake and smoking history before drawing any conclusions.
The researchers cautioned, however, that this study shouldn’t be used to support dramatically altering coffee intake in an attempt to prevent cancer. “In the end, the most important thing that individuals can do to reduce their risk of melanoma is to reduce sun and UV radiation exposure,” Erikka Loftfield, the study’s author, told FoxNews.com Jan. 20. Loftfield works in the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the NCI.
“A lot of people use black coffee for exercise training purposes in order to get an energy burst pre-workout,” says Anick with Coffee Crafters. “There are also no additives and no negative ingredients, you still get that caffeine without the negative ingredients.”
The study has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.