Deriving its cross-sectional data from the fourth and fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES IV and V) conducted by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the study observed 1,781 Korean men aged 60 and above. Their “overall prevalence of sarcopenia was 7.5%”, and a “significant linear trend” across their coffee consumption levels was found.
Those who consumed at least three cups of coffee a day had a 57% lower sarcopenia risk than those who drank less than one cup of coffee a day, while for those who had three or more cups of coffee a day, the risk was lower by 62%.
Sarcopenia, a progressive loss of strength and muscle mass associated with aging, can result in “mobility disorders, physical disability, poor quality of life, and even death”, and is typically brought on by “age-related changes such as decreased levels and sensitivity of anabolic hormones, lack of physical activity, nutritional deficiencies and comorbid diseases”. The condition is also more common in men than in women.
Often, the aforementioned changes follow inflammation, oxidative stress and suppressed muscle autophagy. Coffee’s “potential to induce autophagy”, as well as its phenolic compounds — such as caffeic and chlorogenic acids — which have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, have been found to be “inversely related to the mechanism of sarcopenia”.
The study hypothesised that coffee’s antioxidant properties in particular help to reduce the risk of sarcopenia, as the consumption of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables also significantly lowered the risk of sarcopenia, possibly by “reducing oxidative stress of mitochondria of muscle cells”.
As such, the authors were unable to “completely exclude the possibility” that the “consumption of herb tea, green tea, vegetables, fruits, or other substances that provide antioxidants” might have similar effects on sarcopenia.
Source: Korean Journal of Family Medicine
“Association of Coffee Consumption with Sarcopenia in Korean Elderly Men: Analysis Using the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2008 — 2011”
Authors: Hyewon Chung, et al.