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Is Coffee Bad For Arthritis

by Kristin Beck
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Is Coffee Bad For Arthritis

Is Coffee Bad For Arthritis

“It’s a well known fact that coffee has been used as an effective treatment for more than 2,000 years — it was even mentioned by Hippocrates over 1,500 years ago! It doesn’t hurt that coffee may also be beneficial to your health in other ways, too. In this article we’ll discuss whether or not coffee is good for you if you have osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But first, what exactly are these diseases?
Osteoarthritis is caused when cartilage between joints wears down causing bones to rub together on each other. As a result, bone spurs can form where bone rubs against bone. This can cause severe pain and stiffness. The loss of cartilage leads to painful rubbing from bones moving up and down inside the joint capsule. OA affects about 22 million Americans. More women than men get affected, usually after age 50. Risk factors include obesity, previous injury, genetics, occupation and some types of knee injuries. There is no cure for OA; however, exercises such as walking, stretching and weight control can all decrease symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting approximately 1.3 million Americans. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the immune system to attack its own cells throughout the body. These attacks lead to inflammation which causes swelling, redness and warmth around the joints. Because of the extreme discomfort associated with RA, sufferers often seek relief through nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids and immunosuppressants. However, NSAIDS have serious side effects including gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney problems and liver damage. Steroids only provide symptom relief temporarily. And immunosuppressant treatments come with their own set of potential complications. Although there is currently no cure for RA, controlling the inflammation with medications can improve quality of life significantly.
Now let’s talk about whether or not drinking coffee can do any good for those who suffer from either of these conditions.
In 2007, researchers at Harvard Medical School published findings showing that caffeine had protective effects against the onset of degenerative disc disease in mice. They found that caffeine slowed the breakdown of collagen fibers in the discs so they wouldn’t wear away like before. Caffeine works by blocking adenosine receptors in certain areas of the brain. Adenosine is one of several naturally occurring substances that bind to adenosine receptors. When bound to one type of receptor, adenosine acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter (a chemical released by neurons to slow activity in surrounding nerve cells). But when caffeine binds to another type of adenosine receptor, it blocks the action of adenosine. So, basically, caffeine prevents adenosine from binding to receptors in the spine.
There have been conflicting reports regarding the benefits of drinking caffeinated beverages with regards to reducing risk of developing OA. Some studies show that drinking three cups of coffee per day reduces the incidence of OA by 24 percent compared to abstaining altogether. Other studies suggest that caffeine does nothing to prevent the development of OA but it does seem to alleviate symptoms once someone already suffers from it.
With regard to RA, most experts agree that moderate amounts of coffee can actually help relieve symptoms. A study conducted by the University of California showed that patients with early RA who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee per week experienced less tenderness in their hands and less morning stiffness than those who didn’t drink coffee at all. Another study found that drinking two to three cups of decaf coffee per day helped relieve symptoms in patients with established RA better than taking NSAIDs or prednisolone (the active ingredient in many corticosteroids) alone. Drinking coffee regularly should not interfere with the effectiveness of your medication. If you have RA, consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program or adding new foods into your diet. He or she will probably recommend that you continue with your current regimen while monitoring how you feel.
For more information about the possible benefits of coffee for arthritis, see the links below.
One cup of joe contains roughly 100 milligrams of caffeine, making it the world’s strongest brewed beverage. That said, a normal cup of coffee isn’t going to give you the same energy boost as a cup of espresso — espresso drinks contain much higher levels of caffeine.”

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