Graham Beaton BHSc, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

An interesting article was published in the July 1st issue of the journal Cancer Research. The researchers looked at coffee and caffeine consumption to determine if caffeine intake reduces the chances of developing basal cell carcinoma (BCC) (a type of skin cancer).

Using data from the Nurses’ Health Study (72,921 women) and the Professional Follow-up Study (39,976 men), researchers reviewed 112,897 questionnaires detailing participants’ lifestyles, diet and medical history. Researchers found that those who drank more than 3 cups/day had the lowest risk of developing BCC – reducing their relative risk by 17% (compared to those who drank less than 1 cup of caffeinated coffee per day). This positive effect was seen in both men and women (with women having slight additional benefits from greater caffeine intake).

Caffeine consumption in participants was primarily from coffee (78.5%), followed by tea (18%), cola (3%), and chocolate (0.5%). Reduction in risk of BCC was seen regardless of the source of caffeine. Moreover, caffeine appeared to be the source of the protection against the development of BCC, as consumption of decaffeinated coffee was not associated with a decrease in BCC risk. In contrast to the benefits of caffeine on BCC, it did not appear to have an effect on lowering the incidence of either squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma.

For more information on caffeine and BCC, click here for a link to the study, and for more on sun safety please click here.

Graham Beaton is a Naturopath practicing in Ottawa. For questions or to schedule an appointment, please call 613-290-6115.