Coffee is one of the world's most consumed beverage. In the last decades, coffee consumption has attracted a huge body of research due to its impact on health. Recent scientific evidences showed that coffee intake could be associated with decreased mortality from cardiovascular and neurological diseases, diabetes type II, as well as from endometrial and liver cancer, among others. In this review, on the basis of available data in the literature, we aimed to investigate the association between coffee intake and its influence on the immune system and the insurgence of the most relevant autoimmune diseases. While some studies reported conflicting results, general trends have been identified. Coffee consumption seems to increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). By contrast, coffee consumption may exert a protective role against multiple sclerosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and ulcerative colitis. Concerning other autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, primary biliary cholangitis and Crohn's disease, no significant association was found. In other studies, coffee consumption was shown to influence disease course and management options. Coffee intake led to a decrease in insulin sensitivity in T1DM, in methotrexate efficacy in RA, and in levothyroxine absorption in Hashimoto's disease. Further, coffee consumption was associated with cross reactivity with gliadin antibodies in celiac patients. Data on certain autoimmune diseases like systemic sclerosis, Sjögren's syndrome, and Behçet's disease, among others, are lacking in the existent literature. As such, further research is warranted.
Keywords: Autoimmune diseases; Autoimmunity; Caffeine; Clinical nutrition; Coffee; Rheumatoid arthritis; Rheumatology.
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