Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health say that adults who drink two to four cups of coffee a day have a 50 percent lower risk of suicide than adults who drink decaffeinated coffee, very little coffee or no coffee at all, according to Medical News Today.
They came to the conclusion by analyzing data from three large U.S. studies involving over 200,000 people: 43,599 men involved in the Health Professionals Follow-up study (HPFS), 73,820 women in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and 91,005 women in the NHS II. They looked at consumption of caffeine, coffee and decaffeinated coffee every four years through food-frequency questionnaires, while the deaths from suicide were analyzed by reviewing death certificates.
The amount of caffeine consumption was assessed from both coffee and non-coffee sources, including chocolate, tea and caffeinated soft drinks. But the researchers found that coffee was the main source, accounting for a minimum of 71 percent in all three studies.
The researchers report in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry that as well as stimulating the central nervous system, caffeine acts as a mild antidepressant by stimulating the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
However, the authors caution that this does not mean the more coffee, the better. People should max out at 2-4 cups a day, they say.
"Caffeine is known to affect the brain," said study co-author Dr. Albert Ascherio. "It modulates the release of mood transmitters." He also pointed out that coffee may cause or worsen anxiety.
Too much caffeine can result in insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, muscle tremors and rapid heartbeat.
Interestingly, The Atlantic took these findings to their ultimate conclusion by combining them with other recent studies to come up with the four characteristics of the (hypothetically) happiest person on Earth.
According to the article, this fictitious person would be a 23-year-old coffee-drinking Republican from San Jose, Calif.
Take a swig of coffee quick before you kill yourself.