It is commonly thought that drinking coffee makes you more dehydrated, but does the evidence support this claim?
Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed substances in the world, and is found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. Many people, including both health care practitioners and the public, believe that caffeine increased urine output leading to dehydration.
However, a number of studies have looked at the question in close detail. In one study from 2014, researchers looked at 50 male coffee drinkers habitually consuming 3–6 cups per day. The participants consumed either four 200mL cups of coffee containing 4mg/kg caffeine or the equivalent amount of water for three days. The results showed no change in total body water, 24-hour urine output, or blood markers of hydration between the coffee and water drinkers.
Other studies tell a different story. In a study from 1997, twelve regular coffee drinkers abstained from coffee consumption for 5 days, and then drank 6 cups of coffee. This led to an increase in 24-hour urinary output and a decrease in total body water, as well as increased excretion of sodium and potassium.
Another study found that coffee with high caffeine content (6mg/kg) caused an acute diuretic effect, but low caffeine coffee (3mg/kg) did not.
Lastly, a literature review from 2003 concluded that "acute ingestion of caffeine in large doses results in a short-term stimulation of urine output in individuals who have been deprived of caffeine for a period of days or weeks. A profound tolerance to the diuretic and other effects of caffeine develops, however, and the actions are much diminished in individuals who regularly consume tea or coffee. Doses of caffeine equivalent to the amount normally found in standard servings of tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks appear to have no diuretic action."
Take Home Message
The available evidence suggests that high caffeine consumption (3-6 cups of coffee) causes an acute increase in urinary output, but the effect is diminished in habitual coffee drinkers.
Bottom Line: If you drink coffee regularly, it is not likely to cause dehydration.
Here are some highlights from recently published papers.
Visual Illusion Effective In Relieving Knee Pain For People With Osteoarthritis
A study published in PeerJ looked at the mind-body connection in chronic pain. Participants with knee osteoarthritis were subjected to a visual illusion in which their knee joint and lower leg appeared elongated. This visual effect combined with touch provided a 40% reduction in pain, and the effect was optimal when the illusion was repeated multiple times.
Takeaway: There is more to pain than physical factors, and mind-body techniques could prove to be effective and non-invasive pain relief tools.
Dietary non-fermentable fiber prevents autoimmune neurological disease by changing gut metabolic and immune status
A study published in Scientific Reports suggests that dietary non-fermentable fiber in early adult life may help prevent autoimmune disease.
The researchers used a spontaneous autoimmune encephalomyelitis (i.e. multiple sclerosis) mouse model, and fed them a non-fermentable fiber supplement, similar to what would be found in a vegetarian diet.
The dietary fiber altered the gut microbiota and metabolism of the mice, with an increase in the abundance of long-chain fatty acids, which promoted autoimmune suppressive Th2 immune responses.
Takeaway: Non-fermentable dietary fiber intake early in life may alter the gut microbiota in a way that helps prevent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Intermittent Fasting May Be Center Of Increasing Lifespan
Intermittent fasting has previously been shown to be beneficial for increasing lifespan, however the precise mechanism was not known. In a study from Cell Metabolism, researchers have uncovered a potential mechanism.
The researchers studied nematode worms and found that dietary restriction maintained the mitochondria in a fused state, which is associated with increased longevity. Furthermore, dietary restriction helped coordinate mitochondria with peroxisomes to promote fatty acid oxidation.
Takeaway: dietary restriction and intermittent fasting may enhance lifespan by maintaining mitochondrial networks in a fused state.
I had the pleasure of attending the 2018 SIBO Symposium at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon this past week. Here are some of the highlights from Dr. Mark Pimental's two lectures.
Dr. Mark Pimental:
*Slides are from Dr. Mark Pimental's presentations at the 2018 NUNM SIBO Symposium.
Did you know Naturopathic Medicine is based on 6 underlying principles? Find out what they are in this video!
A new study from Harvard has shown how fasting can help increase lifespan and promote healthy aging.
Read the full article HERE.
We know the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have a number of health benefits. Is it necessary to supplement with a fish oil as part of a healthy aging regime?
Read Dr. Tomah's article published in Lifetime Daily to find out!
Age-related cognitive decline and disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease are becoming increasingly prevalent with our aging population. Cognitive decline has a significant impact not only on an individual’s quality of life, but also on their loved ones and caretakers, as well as immense healthcare costs.
So far single drugs to treat cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s have been largely ineffective. This is because these conditions are complex and involve multiple mechanisms, therefore requiring multiple treatment interventions.
In an excellent study published in the journal Aging titled ‘Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program’, the authors use a personalized, multifaceted approach to successfully reverse cognitive decline.
The study involved 10 people with varying degrees of cognitive decline, many of whom had to discontinue working due to the severity of their condition.
The treatment program, which they called metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration (MEND), was based on our current understanding on the underlying causes of age-related cognitive decline.
The program consisted of a combination of diet and lifestyle recommendations, as well as targeted herbal and nutrient supplementation.
Here is an example of a few of the recommendations:
After only 3-6 months on this program, 9 of the 10 patients experienced significant improvements in memory and cognition (the only one who didn’t improve suffered from late stage severe Alzheimer’s disease at the onset of treatment).
The subjects were able to return to work or continue working with improved performance. The improvements has been marked and sustained, with the longest follow up at the moment being 2.5 years.
This study gives hope for those who are already suffering from Alzheimer’s or age-related cognitive decline, but the real key to success is prevention.
This multidimensional approach is very similar to what we employ in Naturopathic Medicine. By understanding the underlying mechanisms, it provides treatment targets to address the whole person, rather than simply attempting to cover up symptoms.
Do you suffer from asthma, and find that your symptoms are worse in the Spring and Summer?
Check out my latest article for Lifetime Daily on Natural Remedies For Seasonal Allergies and Asthma!
Click HERE to read the article.
Dr. Tomah Phillips, ND