GLOBAL GATHERINGS from 11/2011:
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF CHEMISTRY 2011 – COFFEE ASTROLOGICALLY VIEWED
The International Year of Chemistry was observed in Vienna, Austria, with a discussion of Coffee by Veronika Somoza, an American who is a professor at the University of Wien/Vienna. She has written a book entitled COFFEE – EMERGING HEALTH EFFECTS & DISEASE PREVENTION.
In America, coffee always made me very ill, usually because it was served with milk. It was during my 2nd visit to Europe, in the town of Heidelberg, Germany, that I had my first cup of Bavarian coffee without milk and only a little artificial sweetener. It was wonderful! Since that time, I have bought bags of Bavarian coffee home from my annual visit to Europe. Now I find that I can purchase Dallmyr Bavarian coffee at a small market called Rodmans. That year I had my first cup of Polish coffee in Poznan – that is, coffee served with Cherry Cordial!
As I listened to the lecture on coffee, I thought about the astrological signatures for coffee and, with my many years of studying astrology, I knew the significators immediately: Virgo – Uranus – Moon/Venus.
Let me explain my reasoning: Many years ago I observed that caffeine was the drug of choice for Virgo. Virgo is one of the food addiction signs (with Cancer) so coffee is a tasty and stimulating beverage. The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant to the central nervous system so that the next rulership would be Uranus. Consumers feel that coffee gives them energy but it is not a Mars-type energy – it is mental due to the stimulated nervous system.
The Moon has a relationship with food, food addictions and food intolerances. It is also rules habitual behavior, such as one’s morning coffee. The Moon and Virgo can attracted to coffee because of its health benefits. One could also make an argument for Venus – it is both pleasurable and social, especially in Europe, where everyone meets at the many local cafes for coffee and conversation. In Europe, and wisely so, coffee is always served with a glass of water to neutralize the acidity and to prevent the absorption of calcium from the body! In Austria, it is considered rude not to include water when the coffee is served.
NOTE: Because coffee depletes Folic Acid in the body, it is essential to take this, especially as an under-the-tongue liquid supplement. Folic Acid prevents inflammations which can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease or heart attacks and strokes.
In Professor Somoza’s lecture, she gave a list of the biggest coffee consumers, specifically in Europe, and given per person in one year:
Finland – 12 kgs; Norway – 9 kgs; United States 4 kgs; Poland only 1.5 kgs (to convert kgs to lbs, multiply by 2.2; this makes the U.S. consumption to be almost 9 pounds person)
She added that Americans are known to prefer a very bitter coffee – even in Europe, Starbucks serves the bitter, overly roasted coffees. There is another brand, Mayorga, produced locally (Rockville Maryland) that is even more bitter than Starbucks. I was only able to tolerate Starbucks coffee when they began producing their BLONDE variety which is less bitter. Yet, I hear people commenting that it has no taste or flavor, simply because it is not bitter. In Europe, the Italian brand, Illy, is bitter, as well as the French roast but none are as bitter as found at Starbucks and Mayorga!
NOTE: Green coffee beans are not bitter, the darker the roast the more bitter and light roast is mild.
Professor Somoza discussed milk coffee combinations. While some people found it beneficial, it is not suggested to mix milk and coffee. This is the exact sentiments of Edgar Cayce who described in many readings that, while coffee is like a food for the body, mixing milk in the coffee would have a toxic effect. Personally, I become violently ill after drinking coffee mixed with milk. It is akin to food poisoning for my body. Yet, another friend can only drink coffee with milk as she feels that it helps with the acidity, since dairy is neutral in the digestive system.
Healthwise, she said that there can be harmful effects from excessive consumption, since caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system that increases the heart rate, blood pressure and basal metabolic rate. Caffeine can also cause nausea, insomnia, headaches and cardiac arrhythmia. Since it increases gastric acid secretion, caffeine can cause gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD/Heartburn).
Dark roast coffee is more effective than light roast coffee in reducing body weight and in restoring red blood cell vitamin E and glutathione concentrations in healthy volunteers.
Moderate coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk for diabetes mellitus type II, several types of cancer or Parkinson’s disease, as prospective cohort studies have shown. Since reactive oxygen species are believed to be involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases, antioxidants in coffee might contribute to this risk reduction.
Professor Somoza found that a dark roast coffee beverage (CB) rich in N-methylpyridinium (NMP) and low in chlorogenic acids has stronger antioxidant effects on human erythrocytes than a CB prepared from a light roast with opposite proportions. This means it restored red blood cell vitamin E and glutathione concentrations in healthy volunteers.
The NMP-CB intervention also reduced the body weight in pre-obese subjects, indicating a significant potential for body weight control by dark roast coffee brews containing high amounts of NMP.
SAN FRANCISCO, March 21, 2010 — Since stomach irritation prevents almost 2 out of every 10 people from enjoying coffee, scientists today reported discovery of several substances that may be among the culprits responsible for brewing up heartburn and stomach pain in every cup.
Their report, presented here at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, included the counter-intuitive finding that espresso, French roast, and other dark-roasted coffee may be easier on the tummy because these roasts contain a substance that tells the stomach to reduce production of acid.
The research could lead to a new generation of stomach-friendly brews with the rich taste and aroma of regular coffee, the scientists said
FROM LIFE EXTENSION:
Coffee beans are extra-ordinarily complex fruits containing over 1,000 compounds – only a handful of which have ever been individually investigated by scientists. Not only is coffee packed with antioxidants but it is the greatest source of antioxidants in the American diet.
The average American coffee drinker consumes about 3.1 cups of coffee a day but extensive research has found that higher volumes – as much as 4 to 12 cups daily – can help prevent most major killers, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
For instance, in case-controlled human studies, compared to coffee abstainers, those who drank the most coffee cut their risks of breast cancer by 57% and diabetes by 67%.10,21
Scientific studies have found that regular coffee consumption (with its chlorogenic acid content) lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 67%.21 This appears to result from reduced levels of blood glucose, increased insulin sensitivity, and decreased storage of both fat and carbohydrate.
In one of a number of studies, a 2009 meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine combined data on over 450,000 people and found that every additional cup per day of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee lowered the risk of diabetes by 5 to 10%.12
Many epidemiological studies show that the risk of diabetes drops directly according to the amount of coffee consumed. For instance, scientists found that overall risk is reduced by:
• 1. 13% with one cup a day
• 2. 47% with 4 cups a day
• 3. 67% with 12 cups a day
Scientists are beginning to learn how chlorogenic acid, a potent constituent of both raw and brewed coffee, can be directly tied to an anti-diabetic effect. Investigation has shown it substantially interferes with glucose synthesis and release in the body.
Unidentified compounds in coffee, as well as caffeine itself, may be boosting the preventive effect of chlorogenic acid against diabetes. Preliminary studies suggest that these chemicals may lower carbohydrate storage by 35% and improve insulin sensitivity.
Coffee was previously found to inhibit iron absorption. Later, in 2004, scientists found a direct link between reduced storage of iron in the body and a lower risk of diabetes type 2, independent of other risk factors.
CANCER RISK REDUCTION:
Early studies are reporting an association between higher coffee consumption and a reduced risk of various cancers.
For instance, at a time when prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men (after lung cancer), a promising study appeared in the June 8, 2011, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The research team reported that men who drank over 6 cups of coffee a day had an 18% lower risk of prostate cancer – and a 40% lower risk of aggressive or lethal prostate cancer. This effect was noted for decaffeinated as well as caffeinated coffee – indicating that compounds other than caffeine are responsible for this preventive effect. Constituents in coffee seem to improve insulin levels and sensitivity, hypothesized to play a role in prostate cancer progression.
With breast cancer ranked as the second leading cause of cancer death among American women (after lung cancer), potentially good news arrived recently in the form of a study finding that coffee consumption may help prevent a specific form of this disease. The May 14, 2011, issue of Breast Cancer Research reported that postmenopausal women who consumed 5 cups of coffee daily exhibited a 57% decrease in their risk of developing ER-negative (non-hormone-responsive) breast cancer, a form of cancer that is especially difficult to treat. This builds on an earlier study in which 2 or more cups of coffee per day was shown to delay the onset of breast cancer in women with a certain genetic type. Chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, phytoestrogens, and caffeine – all found in coffee – are suspected of playing a major role.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the US overall. The good news is that a large meta-analysis has reviewed the combined data from 24 previous studies and found an overall 30% lower incidence of colorectal cancer among those categorized as heavy coffee drinkers.
A case control study found that individuals who consumed more than three cups of coffee daily had a 40% lower risk of oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal cancers, compared to those who drank one cup of coffee or less each day.
Liver cancer has become a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. In recent years, however, studies have been accumulating that suggest a substantially reduced risk of this disease among coffee drinkers. In a 2005 study, for example, just one cup a day was associated with a 42% lower risk of liver cancer.
UNIQUE HEALTH BENEFITS:
• Coffee is the greatest source of antioxidants in the American diet.3,4 And the good news is that sound scientific studies have found that the common fears about excess coffee consumption are invalid, and higher intake means bigger benefits.
• An impressive number of studies have shown a strong association between higher consumption of coffee and a significantly reduced risk of most chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and others.
• With over 1,000 phytochemicals, coffee’s unparalleled antioxidant punch no doubt plays a role in its protection against disease. But a multitude of direct biological actions on the body are suspected, such as an improvement in intracellular signaling,95,96 which may help prevent cancer, diabetes and more.
• Drinking just one cup of coffee a day – caffeinated or decaffeinated – can decrease the risk of developing diabetes by 13%.24 But at 12 cups a day, the risk of getting diabetes is slashed by 67%.21
• Far from being a risky habit, coffee has now been shown to provide powerful protection against an epidemic of diabetes and a rising tide of other age-related diseases. It’s an all-natural and inexpensive elixir – to go!
WHAT’S MISSING FROM CONVENTIONAL COFFEE:
Not all coffee provides the same powerful protection against chronic disease. Polyphenol availability varies with how long the beans are roasted and the roasting method itself.
Roasting method: All roasting destroys some polyphenols, the most important being chlorogenic acid. However, in a new patented roasting process, the coffee beans are soaked and drained prior to being roasted.106 Later, after roasting, the beans are deposited back into the same liquid in which they were originally pre-soaked, in a process designed to return substantial polyphenol content to the beans.
CHLOROGENIC ACID CONTENT OF CONVENTIONAL ROASTED (ARABICA) COFFEE COMPARED TO “POLYPHENOL-RETAINING” ROASTED COFFEE
Conventional Coffee 92 mg/cup
Polyphenol-Retaining Coffee 172 mg/cup 186% more chlorogenic acid
Conventional Decaffeinated Coffee 52 mg/cup
Polyphenol-Retaining Decaffeinated Coffee 132 mg/cup 254% more chlorogenic acid
As the leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills over one third more Americans than cancer.
You may have heard the common misconception that coffee raises blood pressure and increases the risk of CVD. However, scientific studies show that coffee’s compounds lower blood pressure over the long term, decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, and may reduce the risk of stroke.
Drinking coffee can raise blood pressure briefly, right after consumption but its compounds have a longer-term benefit: daily coffee consumption decreases blood pressure readings after just 8 weeks, believed to be a result of the beneficial action of chlorogenic acids on the arteries.
Longer-term, drinking coffee cuts the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. A 15-year study of over 41,000 women found that the risk of death from cardiovascular disease was 24% lower among those consuming 1 to 3 cups of coffee daily, which was confirmed by other studies on men and women.
Preventing cardiovascular disease at the cellular level, just one cup of coffee inhibited platelet aggregation within one hour, regardless of its caffeine content.
More good news: studies found that regular coffee consumption improved inflammation and HDL (“good”) cholesterol and decreased coronary calcification.
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis cause 35,000 deaths per year in the United States. Cirrhosis is the ninth leading cause of death in America, responsible for 1.2% of all US deaths. However, scientists have found that the risk of liver cirrhosis, and of dying from this disease, can be greatly reduced by coffee consumption.
Those drinking 4 cups of coffee daily exhibited a full 84% lower risk of cirrhosis, according to a study in the Annals of Epidemiology.
Also, patients with hepatitis B or C have been shown to be less likely to develop nonalcoholic cirrhosis if they are also coffee drinkers.
Alzheimer’s disease becomes increasingly prevalent with aging, striking more than 40% of those over 84. Promising studies are finding that greater daily consumption of caffeinated coffee cuts the risk of both Alzheimer’s and dementia later in life. NOTE: I strongly recommend taking Folic acid after drinking coffee.
Although the mechanism by which coffee lowers the risk of cognitive decline is not known, a 2009 study on mice found that caffeine decreases levels, in both the blood and the brain, of amyloid-beta, a substance involved in the development of Alzheimer’s. Later, a 2010 review of previous mouse studies found that caffeine – the equivalent of 5 cups of coffee daily in humans – decreases levels of beta- and gamma- secretase, proteins used in amyloid-beta production in the first place.
Caffeinated coffee has also been associated with protection against Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. A study of 29,000 individuals found that one to four cups daily decreased the risk of Parkinson’s by 47% and 5 or more cups decreased the risk by 60%.
Several other studies confirmed an inverse dose-dependent relationship – the greater the number of daily cups of caffeinated coffee, the lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
HOW DO COFFEE COMPOUNDS WORK:
Early studies suggest that the polyphenols in coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated) may modify key enzymes that improve intracellular signaling, the communication system that facilitates cellular actions such as tissue repair, immunity, and homeostasis. Poor cell signaling may be a factor in cancer, diabetes, and more. (A subsequent study suggested in 2008 that this cellular signaling effect could also explain coffee’s inhibition of blood platelet aggregation and cardiovascular risk.)
Then, in 2009, a study found that by modulating specific cell signaling pathways (known as ERK1/2 and JNK), the various polyphenols in coffee – especially chlorogenic acid – help prevent the degeneration of those human cells that are rich in lipids. Brain cells are lipid-rich and this may explain coffee’s neuroprotective effect against cognitive decline and diseases of the brain.
A 2006 review of animal and human studies found that coffee compounds raise levels of detoxifying enzymes that protect against DNA damage and – likely as a direct result – reduce the susceptibility of lymphocytes (white blood cells involved in immune response) to damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS). This may partly explain how coffee lowers the incidence of DNA damage and related diseases such as cancer.
One 2009 study on humans found that 3 cups of coffee daily for 3 weeks increased the number and metabolic activity of beneficial bacteria called bifidobacteria. These intestinal bacteria may explain one mechanism for coffee’s benefits: bacteria can boost immunity, lower blood pressure, and increase mineral absorption.
In 2010, researchers discovered that the phenolics in 4-8 cups of coffee daily have the direct action of dampening inflammatory activity.66 Chronic low-level inflammation has been associated with diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes, as well as aging.
A 2011 randomized, controlled trial found that consumption of (caffeinated or decaffeinated) coffee produces specific improvements in the function of the liver and of adipocytes (fat-storing cells), both associated with a healthy metabolism. This provides further insight into the possible mechanisms behind coffee’s benefits, because disrupted metabolic activity is a biological risk factor for a number of chronic diseases (including type 2 diabetes).
In addition to the numerous other antioxidants in coffee, a 2011 study confirmed that caffeine itself is a potent scavenger of oxygenated free radicals. Caffeine was found in another 2011 study to work synergistically with other coffee antioxidants. However, caffeine may also work along direct cellular pathways unrelated to its antioxidant action.
Scientists determined in 2011 that caffeine protects the integrity of the blood-brain barrier – which suggests that caffeine may reduce the risk of some diseases by limiting the transport of blood-borne pathogens, drugs, cells, and other substances into the brain, where they might affect brain synapses. The team also found that caffeine defends against the specific blood-brain barrier dysfunction linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
A MULTITUDE OF BENEFITS
Those who drink the most coffee have a substantially reduced risk of developing diabetes, cancer, liver disease, cognitive decline, and DNA damage. But the health benefits of coffee’s complex phytochemistry don’t end there:
• Decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee lowered the risk of kidney stones in women by 9 and 10%, respectively.
• Caffeinated coffee reduced the incidence of gallstones and gall bladder disease in both men and women.
• Scientists found that coffee boosted regular weight loss by 8 pounds and promoted body fat metabolism.
• Sometimes-inconsistent findings have generally linked coffee drinking with reduced all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality
• For athletes, caffeine reduced muscle pain, increased energy (ergogenic aid), and enhanced endurance.
• One study found caffeine, taken 2 hours before exercise, prevented exercise-induced asthma.
• Confirming earlier research, a 2011 study on over 50,000 women found that 4 cups of coffee daily lowered the risk of depression by 20%, compared to coffee abstainers.
• Antibacterials in coffee were found to inhibit plaque formation and prevent dental decay.
• Whether caffeinated or decaffeinated, coffee consumption prevents constipation and – despite the myth that coffee dehydrates the body – contributes to the body’s fluid requirements.
• Caffeine is believed to boost by 40% the effectiveness of pain relievers against headaches. Caffeine also helps the body absorb headache medications more quickly.
• A large, as-yet-unpublished study presented October 24, 2011, found that men and women with the highest coffee consumption have a 13% and 18% lower risk, respectively, for basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer).
Although many people assume they should limit their coffee intake, a wealth of scientific research suggests that its wide-ranging health benefits increase with the amount consumed.
Numerous studies show that higher daily coffee consumption results in a lower risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and a host of other chronic diseases, including obesity.
There are a number of phytochemicals, the most predominate being chlorogenic acid, that provide coffee’s disease-protecting punch. Of interest is the additional ability of coffee polyphenols to exert direct biological actions on cells. For instance, daily coffee intake may modify key enzymes that improve intracellular signaling, which can protect against diabetes, cancer, and many other diseases.
The benefit is dose-related. Drinking just one cup of coffee a day – caffeinated or decaffeinated – can decrease the risk of developing diabetes by 13%.but 12 cups a day slashes the risk of developing diabetes by 67%.
While traditional medicine fights an impossible battle against a tidal wave of diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other age-related diseases, extensive research suggests that coffee – far from being a guilty pleasure that should be limited – is an all-natural and inexpensive elixir. With the availability of new “polyphenol-retaining” coffees, moderate coffee drinkers can now obtain the myriad benefits that were once reserved only for so-called “heavy” coffee users.
There remain, however, a significant percentage of people who are sensitive to caffeine’s stimulating effects on the central nervous system, or find they encounter heartburn and other digestive problems in response to ingesting even a cup of coffee. The new polyphenol-retaining coffee bean beverages are less likely to induce gastric upset.
For those who don’t want to drink any coffee, there are now standardized chlorogenic acid supplements available that provide the high potencies of beneficial coffee compounds with only tiny amounts of caffeine.
HOW COFFEE PROTECTS AGAINST A SPECTRUM OF DISEASES
Over 1,000 compounds make up coffee’s complex phytochemistry. Their documented protection against diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and a host of other chronic diseases may be due to an intricate web of chemically induced actions along various biological pathways. Suspected mechanisms include:
• 1. Combined antioxidant action.
• 2. Lowered storage of glucose.
• 3. Improved insulin sensitivity.
• 4. Mobilization of glycogen in muscles.
• 5. Stimulated muscular oxidation of fat.
• 6. Reduced inflammatory enzyme activity.
• 7. Higher levels of detoxifying enzymes.
• 8. Improved intracellular signaling.
• 9. Increased sensitivity of cells’ receptors.
• 10. Changes in genetic expression.
• 11. Prebiotic stimulation of beneficial bacteria.
• 12. Protection against the death of neuron cells.
• 13. Chelation of metals such as iron.
• 14. Metabolic improvements to adipocyte and liver function.
• 15. Prevention of blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction.
• 16. Lower levels of amyloid-beta plaque.
• 17. Suppression of enzymes that produce amyloid-beta plaque.