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A review of caffeine use as a risk or protective factor for women’s health and pregnancy


Peacock, A and Mattick, RP and Bruno, R, A review of caffeine use as a risk or protective factor for women's health and pregnancy, Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 30, (4) pp. 253-259. ISSN 0951-7367 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1097/YCO.0000000000000333


Purpose of review: To provide a narrative synthesis of recently published studies on caffeine use as a risk or protective factor for health outcomes, with a focus on women’s health and pregnancy.

Recent findings: Based on predominantly observational studies, moderate caffeine intake has been shown to be a protective factor for liver cancer, certain bowel conditions, colorectal cancer, skin cancer, and regular menstrual cycle function. However, heavy consumption is a risk factor for osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, and poorer birth and child developmental outcomes. Residual confounding and issues surrounding retrospective self-reported intake are cited as key limitations in the majority of these studies. Moderate caffeine intake has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome; however, recent genetic epidemiology studies provide no evidence for a causal relationship.

Summary: Greater inclusion of female participants in studies, and analysis of sex differences in the relationship between caffeine intake and certain health conditions, is necessary. The current literature suggests caffeine’s role as a risk or protective factor differs across health conditions. Often, there are plausible biological mechanisms for this relationship. However, a continued precautionary stance is recommended until direct causal pathways are established. Review of recently published studies does not suggest that current intake guidelines for adults and for pregnant woman need to be modified.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:birth outcomes, caffeine, health, pregnancy, women
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Peacock, A (Miss Amy Peacock)
UTAS Author:Bruno, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:119275
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2017-07-28
Last Modified:2018-12-13

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