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  • Writer's pictureDr. S. Rallis DC, ND

Coffee and Colorectal Cancer

Is increased coffee consumption associated with improved survival in patients with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer?

The short answer is, yes! At least according to a prospective observational cohort study published this week in JAMA Oncology. (1)

Researchers concluded that coffee consumption appears to be associated with reduced risk of both death and disease progression in patients with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer.

This is good news for the hordes of coffee consumers out there. Dietary modifications play a big role in naturopathic supportive cancer care. For example, the antioxidants found in green tea appear or the bergamot found in Earl Grey Tea appear to impact certain metabolic pathways associated with cancer progression. (2), (3)

Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and also sensitizes insulin, both of which are known metabolic targets associated with metastatic cancers. Makes sense that coffee might be beneficial. Moreover, coffee is a comfort drink for so many. A cancer diagnosis is such an upheaval in lifestyle that adding in some of the creature comforts of a “normal” existence is good news.

I would argue that loading your coffee with sugar might decrease the magnitude of this benefit, especially if impact on insulin is one of the causative factors associated with this observational result.

More natural, low carb sweeteners such as monkfruit, erythritol and stevia might be better options. Adding plant-based fats to your coffee such as coconut cream or olive oil may also further enhance the insulin-sensitizing and antioxidant effects associated with coffee.

So, to all the coffee addicts out there, “Bottoms Up”!

(1) Mackintosh C, Yuan C, Ou F, et al. Association of Coffee Intake With Survival in Patients With Advanced or Metastatic Colorectal Cancer. JAMA Oncol. Published online September 17, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.3938

(2) Fujiki H, Watanabe T, Sueoka E, Rawangkan A, Suganuma M. Cancer Prevention with Green Tea and Its Principal Constituent, EGCG: from Early Investigations to Current Focus on Human Cancer Stem Cells. Mol Cells. 2018 Feb 28;41(2):73-82. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2018.2227. Epub 2018 Jan 31. PMID: 29429153; PMCID: PMC5824026.

(3) Fiorillo M, Peiris-Pagès M, Sanchez-Alvarez R, Bartella L, Di Donna L, Dolce V, Sindona G, Sotgia F, Cappello AR, Lisanti MP. Bergamot natural products eradicate cancer stem cells (CSCs) by targeting mevalonate, Rho-GDI-signalling and mitochondrial metabolism. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2018 Sep;1859(9):984-996. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2018.03.018. Epub 2018 Apr 4. PMID: 29626418.


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