Coffee might do more than just wake you up in the morning after a brew. Research studies continue to demonstrate that coffee is potentially linked to a reduction in prostate cancer although evidence still needs to be gathered to be absolutely certain of the effect. Other studies are less convincing about the reduction in the risk through drinking coffee and no one is advocating drinking it in the hope of preventing this killer disease. Indeed coffee drinking is associated with other urinary issues, but continued research into larger population studies should help pinpoint just how valuable drinking beverages will be.
The Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, USA (Wilson et al., 2011) reported one very interesting study in 2011. This looked at coffee drinking in 48,000 U.S. men who were in the Health Professional Follow-Up Study. It showed that those drinking 6 or more cups of coffee a day were 18% less likely to develop any form of prostate cancer. There was also a 60% less likelihood of the cancer progressing (i.e. being metastatic) to other parts of the body.
The study looked at the average daily intake of coffee every 4 years from 1986 to 2006 in this group of men who reported their daily consumption. During this 20-year period, 5,035 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer from which 642 died. Even relatively small amounts of coffee- from one to 3 cups per day were shown to produce a 30% drop in the risk of developing the cancer. There was no difference in whether the coffee was decaffeinated or not.
For men, there are two possible ingredients to be considered in reducing an enlarged prostate and these are saw palmetto and lycopene which is found in tomatoes.
There is speculation as to what components might be responsible.
Coffee contains numerous bioactives such as diterpenes, cafestol, polyphenols of many types, kahweal, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid.
Wilson, K.M., Kasperzyk, J.L., Rider, J.R., Kenfield, S., van Dam, R.M., Stampfer, M.J., Giovannucci, E., Mucci, L.A. (2011) Coffee consumption and prostate cancer risk and progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 103 pp. 876–84.