Like Your Coffee? Check Out the Protective Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine

You’ve heard the good and bad about coffee—Dr. Williams gives you the real scoop.
Coffee has been with us a long time. The energizing effect of wild coffee was first used in Ethiopia more than a thousand years ago. The earliest evidence of coffee cultivation was in the 15th century in Yemen. Apparently Sufi monks liked it. The Arabian Peninsula is a very hot desert. Perhaps the Sufis figured out that drinking coffee did more than wake them up—it also granted protection from the sun. Now, scientists are picking up the thread: caffeine has anticancer effects.

Caffeine Protects Against Sun Damage and Cancer

Caffeine in your sunscreen? You’ve likely been putting it on for several years and didn’t know it. Scientists worked out how caffeine protects against certain types of skin cancers, which has already lead to better sunscreens.

Professor of Pharmacy Allan Conney at Rutgers University found that the specific anticancer molecular mechanism involves a gene called ATR (Ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related), which is suppressed by caffeine molecules. Apparently, dampening ATR activity promotes apoptosis, or the death of DNA-damaged cells. These findings may lead to new ways of preventing skin cancer. (more…)