Scientists have unearthed a connection between advancing age, systemic inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and caffeine consumption.

The Stanford University School of Medicine study found that inflammation is a driver of cardiovascular disease and increased rates of mortality. Metabolites, or breakdown products, of nucleic acids — the molecules that serve as building blocks for our genes — circulating in the blood can trigger this inflammatory process, the study found.

The study also provides evidence that caffeine and its own metabolites may counter the action of these circulating nucleic-acid metabolites, possibly explaining why coffee drinkers tend to live longer than abstainers.

“More than 90 percent of all noncommunicable diseases of aging are associated with chronic inflammation,” said the study’s lead author, David Furman, PhD, a consulting associate professor at the Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection.

“It’s also well-known that caffeine intake is associated with longevity,” Furman said. “Many studies have shown this association. We’ve found a possible reason for why this may be so.”

Mark Davis, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford, said, “That something many people drink — and actually like to drink — might have a direct benefit came as a surprise to us,"

Source: Stanford Medicine: med.stanford.edu