Studies show that people who drink alcohol but also drink three or more cups of coffee a day have half the risk for cirrhosis, compared with people who drink alcohol but not coffee.
One study looked at 30 years of data from the Honolulu Heart Program. It found that men who did not drink coffee were two to three times more likely to develop the disease than those who drank one to four cups of caffeinated coffee a day. The researchers suggest caffeine may block the brain's receptors for a chemical called adenosine. That lets the level of another chemical, dopamine, increase. Dopamine controls the smooth, coordinated function of the body's muscles and movement. Lack of dopamine causes Parkinson's.
A positive conclusion
Coffee -- and caffeine, in general -- has many health benefits for older adults. The American Medical Association and other experts stress that moderation is important: Three cups a day is fine, but 10 cups is too much. Make sure the rest of your diet is healthy, as well. Eat nutritious meals, and for weight control, consume only as many calories a day as you burn in activity. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. That means no more than one drink a day for anyone 65 or older.