The findings of a research published last month in Archives of Internal Medicine, suggest that women who drink two or more cups of coffee a day are less likely to get depressed.
The study concluded that “depression risk decreases with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption”.
However experts say it is too soon to recommend that women drink more coffee in order to boost mood because the effect of coffee is still unclear. As decaffeinated coffee did not have the same effect on women, the authors of the study believe caffeine in coffee may alter the brain’s chemistry.
In order to understand the link, the experts are recommending more work on the subject.
More than 50,000 US female nurses participated to this study by the Harvard Medical School. From 1996 to 2006 their coffee consumption was recorded on questionnaires.
In this decade a little more than 2,600 of the women developed depression.
Most of these women were not frequent coffee consumers but non- or low-coffee drinkers.
The women who drank two or three cups of caffeinated coffee per day cut their risk of developing depression by 15% compared with those who consumed one cup or less per week.
And the risk was decreased by 20% for the women who drank four or more cups a day.
The study says that regular coffee drinkers were less likely to be overweight and have high blood pressure or diabetes, but they were more likely to smoke and drink alcohol. They were also less likely to be involved in church, volunteer or community groups.
The trend of increasing coffee consumption and lower depression remained after controlling for all of these variables.
According to the researchers their findings add weight to the work of others which suggested that coffee drinkers had lower suicide rates.
They believe that caffeine is the key player because it is known to boost feelings of wellbeing and energy.
Besides caffeine has a physical effect on brain function and transmission as it alters chemical pathways, such as those involving adenosine.
Researchers pointed out that it is also possible that people with low moods chose not to drink coffee because it contained caffeine. Also one of the common symptoms of depression is disturbed sleep, which can be exacerbated by caffeine as it is a stimulant.
And feelings of anxiety can also be increased by too much caffeine.
Therefore in order to know for sure whether caffeine helps prevent depression more research is needed.