NY Times on Caffeine

Anna Jane Grossman of The New York Times examines the plight of caffeine in the United States; past, present, and, its newfound topical applications? I’m serious. Take a look:
Now drugstore shelves, which once had few things caffeine-related, save perhaps the odd mug cozy or cappuccino-scented candle, are offering an array of skin care products containing the beloved stimulant.


The 20th century was a confusing time for caffeine. The Food and Drug Administration vacillated on whether it was good or bad for you. Sanka was created, but so was the frappuccino. The new millennium, however, is shaping up to be a good one for it…

… In 2002, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science published a study led by Dr. Conney that used caffeine to kill off skin cancer sells on radiated mice. The results were promising, especially if you’re a mouse living in a coffee urn.

“Although caffeine has a sunscreen effect, it also has a biological effect of causing apoptosis — programmed cell death — in UVB-damaged skin cells and in tumors but not in normal skin or in areas adjacent to tumors in tumor-bearing mice,” Dr. Conney said in an e-mail message. “To the best of my knowledge, caffeine and caffeine sodium benzoate are the first examples of substances that have both a sunscreen effect and enhance cell death in a DNA-damaged tissue.”
Okay, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on caffeine consumption from Eat to Live and Disease-Proof Your Child:
Eat to Live
Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.1 Coffee raises blood pressure and raises cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease.2


Disease-Proof Your Child
Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.3 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible. The bottom line, if in doubt, don’t do it.
And now, Dr. Fuhrman on caffeine and cancer from Ineffective Anti-Cancer Remedies: Coffee Enemas:
Caffeinated beverages delivered rectally are not health-supporting and cannot detoxify your body any more effectively than rinsing your mouth with them and then spitting them out. At least two deaths have been linked to coffee enemas, attributed to hyponatremia and dehydration. There is also a risk of contamination from unsanitary equipment used to administer enemas. For example, one outbreak of Campylobacter sepsis occurred among clients at a border clinic in Mexico that offered coffee enemas, and an outbreak of amebiasis was also linked to fecal contamination of an enema-delivery system.
Alight, that’s reason enough for me not to believe the hype—what about you?
1. Mehta, A., A. C. Jain, M.C. Mehta, and M. Billie. 1997. Caffeine and cardiac arrhythmias: an experimental study in dogs with review of literature. Acta Cardiol. 52 (3):273-83.

2. Nurminen, M.L., L. Niittymen, R. Korpela, and H. Vapaatalo. 1999. Coffee, caffeine and blood pressure: a critical review. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 53 (11): 831-39; Christensen, B., A. Mosdol, L. Rettersol, et al. 2001. Abstention from filtered coffee reduces the concentration of plasma homocysteine and serum cholesterol—a randomized controlled trail. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 74(3):302-07.

3. Bracken MB, Triche EW, Belanger K, et. Al. Association of maternal caffeine consumption with decrements in fetal growth. Am J Epidemiol 2003; 157(5): 456-466. Vik T, Bakketeig LS, Trygg KU, et al. High caffeine consumption in the third trimester of pregnancy: gender-specific effects on fetal growth. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2003; 17(4):324-331. Rasch V. Cigarette, alcohol, and caffeine consumption: risk factors for spontaneous abortion. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2003;82(2): 182-188
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