Is coffee good for rheumatoid arthritis
Coffee consumption has been the subject of much debate. There have been studies suggesting a detrimental effect on cardiovascular health; however, simultaneously there is data suggesting an inverse relation between the two. A possible explanation may be that many of these studies did not take into account smoking, which is a huge confounding factor associated with coffee intake.
The mechanism by which caffeine is postulated to affect the immune system is by inhibiting the cAMP phosphodiesterase, thus increasing intracellular cAMP and activating protein kinase A, which in turn affects many immunomodulatory pathways. There have been studies reporting an increase in the incidence of seropositive RA in patients who consume coffee in excess of four cups per day. However, these studies did not report this increase in tea drinkers bringing into question if the association is related to caffeine intake at all. There has been data about an increased incidence of osteoporosis with coffee intake of more than two cups per days. Again, I go with the rule of “everything is fine in moderation” and recommend my nonpregnant patients to limit consumption to two cups per day. Mikuls T, et al. Arthritis Rheum 46: 83, 2002.