Depression is a chronic and recurrent condition that affects twice as many women as men, including approximately one of every five U.S. women during their lifetime. Loss of productive work hours has become a significant problem in the workplace making the development of strategies to prevent the debilitating condition a priority for research scientists.
The result of a peer-reviewed journal study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine explains that consumption of caffeinated coffee can reduce the symptoms of depression in women in a dose dependent manner. This is an important finding because coffee is a popular beverage already consumed by many. Just three to four cups of java each day may just help lift your spirits and improve feelings of melancholy.
Four Cups of Coffee Consumed Daily Found to Lower Depression Symptom by 20%
The authors of the study noted that 80% of worldwide caffeine consumption is in the form of coffee, the most commonly used CNS (central nervous system) stimulant. The research leader, Dr. Michel Lucas and his team set out to determine if the consumption of coffee or other drinks containing caffeine might be linked to depression risk. To conduct the study they gathered data on 50,737 women with an average age 63 years. It was determined that none of them had depression when the study began.
The participants were part of the Nurses' Health Study and were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire detailing their caffeine and coffee consumption over a 24 year period. The researchers determined how often they consumed caffeinated and non-caffeinated coffee, non-herbal teas, caffeinated sodas (sugared or low calorie) and all types of caffeine-free soft drinks as well as chocolate intake. For the purpose of this study, depression was defined as having a diagnosis of clinical depression and being prescribed regular antidepressants during the previous two years.
Coffee Found to Lower Depression in Women in a Dose Dependent Manner
During the course of the study analysis, 2,607 new cases of depression were recorded among the participants. From the data collected, researchers found that women who consumed two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day were 15% less likely to develop depression compared to those who drank a maximum of one cup of caffeinated coffee per week. Further they determined women who drank at least 4 cups per day had a 20% lower risk than the females consuming only one cup per day.
Interestingly, the consumption of decaffeinated coffee had no impact on depression risk, an indicator that a synergistic link exists between chemical compounds in coffee and caffeine to produce the risk-lowering effect. Study authors concluded "In this large prospective cohort of older women free of clinical depression or severe depressive symptoms at baseline, risk of depression decreased in a dose-dependent manner with increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee." Drinking two to four cups daily of a caffeinated coffee beverage may provide significant depression-lowering benefits in women.