Thursday, August 18, 2011

Your Cup of Joe Might Ward off Skin Cancer

It seems like we just can't find enough great reasons for drinking coffee. If you've been keeping up with the long list of pros for drinking coffee, you'd know that it contains cancer-fighting antioxidants, has been found to possibly help stave off Alzheimer disease, improve weight loss results and boost your metabolism. Now there is another pro to add to the list with new research suggesting that caffeine can protect our skin from cancer.

Melanoma, also known as known as skin cancer, is one of the most common forms of cancer in the world. If it is caught early, treatment can be simpler and more effective than with some other forms of cancer. However, skin cancer can often elude us, allowing it to become aggressive and deadly. Sunscreen is one great way to help protect ourselves from sun damage, including melanoma, but any extra form of protection, even drinking a cup of Joe each day, is helpful.

In this latest pro-caffeine study, researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Washington found that caffeine works to help prevent skin cancer by inhibiting an enzyme in the skin called ATR. In studies with mice, they found that those who were given water with caffeine added were able to kill off far more cancerous cells than their counterparts. They also developed tumors more slowly than the other mice with 69% fewer tumors on the whole. They also developed four times fewer invasive tumors.

It is still unclear as to whether or not applying caffeine to the skin can help shield cells from UV damage, so future research will have to be performed to find out. If caffeine is found work as an effective sunscreen, I'm certain that we will start seeing a lot more skin products that contain it on the market. For now, simply ingesting caffeine from coffee, tea or even chocolate may help us defend ourselves from melanoma from the inside out.