Facebook Pixel

Drink Up: More Coffee May Mean Lower Risk of Depression

Rate This
Depression related image Photo: Getty Images

The National Coffee Association and The Specialty Coffee Association of America report that over 50 percent of Americans over 18 years of age drink coffee every day.

And according to annual surveys the above Coffee Associations conduct, there are over 150 million daily coffee drinkers and among those drinkers, the average consumption in the United States is 3.2 cups of coffee per day.

That may seem like a lot of coffee consumption, but according to a recently published article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers say that women who drink four or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily seem to have a lower risk of depression long term than those who don't drink java or stop at one cup a day.

Dr. Christopher Cargile, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine said that at least, for now, this study may lessen people’s negative beliefs or fears about coffee consumption. Cargile was not associated with the study.

“Caffeine at high doses has long been associated with worsening of anxiety and other psychiatric illness, and at times this has lead to lingering concerns that it might be best to limit its use ... This (study) may lessen concerns that caffeine consumption will have a negative impact,” Dr. Cargile said.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston tracked the coffee consumption habits of almost 51,000 women, with an average age of 63 years. None of the women reported being depressed at the beginning of the study and none were on antidepressants.

Researchers found that “women who drank four cups of coffee or more a day had a 20 percent reduced risk for depression and those imbibing two to three cups daily had a 15 percent decreased risk, compared to those drinking one cup or less daily,” according to a release on the study.

"Caffeine has short-term positive effects on mood, subjective feelings of having more energy and being more awake in the short term ... (It seemed natural) to see whether long-term coffee consumption associated with a lower risk of developing depression," according to the study’s senior author and professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Dr. Alberto Ascherio.

Researchers say that the caffeine in coffee affects the same neurotransmitters that regulate mood and anxiety, so it makes sense for there to be a correlation.

So while they’ve found initial evidence to suggest the relationship between a higher coffee intake and lower risk of depression, researchers want to make it clear that they’ve yet to determine if this is a cause-and-effect relationship.

But for now, if you’re one of the 150 million people in the U.S. who pours a cup or two of joe each day, you can drink up with a little less worry in your head and perhaps a little more spring in your step.


Lots of Coffee Might Lower Depression Risk. HealthDay. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=657254

Coffee Statistics. E-Imports; Espresso Business Solutions. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. http://www.e-importz.com/Support/specialty_coffee.htm

Bailey Mosier is a freelance journalist living in Orlando, Florida. She received a Masters of Journalism from Arizona State University, played D-I golf, has been editor of a Scottsdale-based golf magazine and currently contributes to GolfChannel.com. She aims to live an active, healthy lifestyle full of sunshine and smiles.

Reviewed September 27, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Depression Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!