Adults who regularly drink coffee in their midlife adult years may have significantly reduced physical frailty later in life, according to a new study involving 12,000 participants.
Led by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) using data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, the study found an association between increased caffeine intake through coffee or tea and decreased incidence of physical frailty in aging.
“Our studies show that consumption of these caffeinated drinks at midlife may be associated with a reduced likelihood of physical frailty in late life,” Professor Koh Woon of the NUS Puay Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine said in an announcement of the publication. “However, further studies are still needed to confirm these longitudinal associations, and to investigate if these effects on physical frailty are mediated by caffeine or other chemical compounds.”
The study adds to a mounting pile of research suggesting regular coffee consumption may result in health benefits as humans age. Multiple major studies have linked coffee consumption with longer life. Additional recent studies have associated regular coffee consumption with reduced risk of stroke and dementia, Alzheimer’s and high blood pressure. Another study focused on frailty associated coffee drinking with reduced risk of hip fractures among women.
The Singapore-led study, which relied on self-reporting and measured physical tests through a 20-year period, was published this summer in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA).
The researchers found that regular coffee and caffeine drinkers fared much better than non-coffee-drinkers in physical tests related to hand grip strength and physical mobility — the latter measured by a standard Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. The associations were less pronounced in self-reported frailty-related measures such as weight loss and exhaustion.
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