Caffeine has a possible link to gut health, according to researchers studying the proliferation of TH17 cells in the intestine. The discovery was published in a recent issue of Immunity
Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, are investigating how TH17 is created and changes in the intestine. The hope is that the study may shed light on treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Those include Inflammable Bowel Disease (IBM), which encompasses Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
Along the way, the investigation revealed an unexpected find.
“Sometimes in research, we make these serendipitous discoveries—it’s not necessarily something you sought out, but it’s an interesting finding that opens up further areas of inquiry,” said senior author Richard Blumberg, MD. “It’s too soon to speculate on whether the amount of xanthine in a cup of coffee leads to helpful or harmful effects in a person’s gut, but it gives us interesting leads to follow up on as we pursue ways to generate a protective response and stronger barrier in the intestine.”
The X Factor
Caffeine is of interest, according to researchers, because it is a derivative of xanthine. In addition to existing in plants, xanthine is found in our blood and muscle tissue. Foods with caffeine, such as coffee, chocolate, and tea contain high levels of xanthine.
Also, Alkaloids are derived from xanthine. Alkaloids are found in drugs ranging from morphine to quinine.
The Good The Bad And The Delicious
The Brigham and Women’s findings may blend in with a recent reversal of Coffee’s reputation.
Early research indicated that coffee could pose some health hazards. However, a growing trend of studies has found that the reverse is true.
Two years ago, Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard, appeared in an article in Discover detailing the flaws in those early studies. Conversely, the articles detailed newer studies with more accurate findings.
“The overall evidence has been pretty convincing that coffee has been more healthful than harmful in terms of health outcomes,” Hu said at the time. “For most people, moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy diet.”
The recommended daily consumption of coffee is two to five cups, according to Hu. In addition, he noted that research links coffee to a reduction in the likelihood to developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and depression.
Coffee As An Investment
More positive coffee news could bolster your wealth as well as your health.
Expert Market Research (EMR) puts the value of the global coffee market at $126.38 billion in 2022. Further, EMR says the segment grew at a rate of 4.82 percent from 2018 to 2022. However, that figure is expected to be eclipsed by a 6.7 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years.
Volatility and high costs put investing in the coffee futures market out of reach for most of us. However, there are other ways to take a financial stake in the commodity.
ETFs and mutual funds offer the easiest way to make a diversified investment. However, you can invest in coffee related companies such as a chain of coffee shops, retail sellers, or manufacturers of coffee making products.