One Major Effect Coffee Has on Your Muscles, New Study Says
If you love it when science confirms that your favorite things are actually good for you, then here's one more winner to add to the list: A new study by orthopedics and physiology researchers has revealed that coffee may help maintain strong muscles (and therefore greater mobility) as you age.
With coffee being as popular as ever, it's exciting that the beloved drink has recently been linked to noteworthy wellness effects like improved liver health, weight loss, and more. Keep reading to learn what this latest study found about coffee and muscle health, and don't miss This Is The Exact Age Your Metabolism Starts Slowing, Says New Study.
The study examined the preservation of skeletal muscle.
A team of researchers in Japan set out to investigate a trend that had been previously shown in animal studies: Coffee consumption impedes the progression of sarcopenia, an aging-related condition in which muscle mass may naturally deteriorate.
In particular, the scientists aimed to see whether habitual coffee drinking affects skeletal muscle. Of our three types of muscle, skeletal muscle plays important roles in mobility, as well as posture, metabolism, and more, according to an article co-authored by Matthew Varacallo, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania. (The other types of muscle are cardiac muscle, which relates to the heart's function, and smooth muscle, which helps govern many of the body's involuntary contractions in processes like digestion, blood flow, menstruation, and more.)
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The scientists measured coffee drinking, muscle mass, and grip strength.
The researchers asked 6,369 participants between the ages of 45 and 74 to report how often they drank coffee. Then, they measured participants' skeletal muscle mass and handgrip strength using a bioelectrical tool and a spring metric device.
Coffee drinking and greater muscle mass were connected.
Indeed, the researchers identified a "significant positive association" between habitual coffee drinking and skeletal muscle mass.
Also, while they did not detect a significant relationship between coffee and hand strength, they did note that among the male participants, coffee drinking and grip strength were related to some extent.
The study seemed to shoot down one theory.
At the start of the study, the researchers had hypothesized that, if in fact, coffee has any effect on muscle mass, it may be due to its role in reducing systemic inflammation. However, after measuring for inflammation markers in the participants, the scientists actually didn't find this was the case.
Staying active could play a role.
Does holding on to that coffee cup every day make you stronger? Well, probably not by much.
However, one factor that could serve to partially explain the relationship between coffee consumption and muscle health is this: Recently, a Korean study noted that coffee consumption seemed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (as several other studies have found). Since we know long-term heart health is also linked with staying active, perhaps that same physical activity also helps keep muscles in healthy shape.
Another possible connection is that recent research has shown drinking coffee before exercising might fuel a more productive workout.