DEAR DR. ROACH: I switched from drinking caffeinated coffee to Swiss Water Decaf about two years ago. The reason I switched to decaf is because I got dizzy when I got up at night to go to the bathroom. The dizziness only lasted a few seconds, but it was unsettling. My doctor suggested switching to decaf as the caffeine might be the problem. I only drink one cup a day in the morning, but I was thinking of switching anyway. Indeed, I did not feel any vertigo. Does this type of decaffeinated coffee or any decaffeinated coffee offer the same benefits as regular coffee? I have read that caffeinated coffee has certain benefits, such as reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, certain cancers, diabetes and can protect the liver, etc. ? Although I’m not sure if this is 100% accurate, is it the caffeine that has the benefits? -NOT.
ANSWER: Coffee drinkers – both regular and decaffeinated – have a lower risk of heart disease than non-drinkers. Other benefits have been associated with drinking coffee, including a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, alcoholic cirrhosis and gout. Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee is also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Overall cancer risk is not decreased in coffee drinkers compared to non-drinkers.
What is unclear is whether coffee consumption is the cause of these benefits. It may be that coffee drinkers have other behaviors that are responsible for these benefits. Not all studies have shown a benefit, and the largest study suggests a 16% decreased risk of all-cause mortality associated with coffee consumption.
Consuming high levels of caffeine may be associated with short-term adverse effects including headaches, anxiety, tremors, and insomnia, depending on prior caffeine consumption habits. Chronic consumers are less susceptible to adverse behavioral effects of caffeine than non-consumers. Stopping caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms, especially if done quickly.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have severe tinnitus resulting from a head injury related to a bicycle accident a few years ago. Recently, I was bombarded with advertisements on social media claiming incredible cures for tinnitus (as well as many other conditions) from CBD gummies. Is there any reliable evidence to support these claims? – RF
ANSWER: I also see advertisements for many medical conditions touting the healing properties of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive (meaning it doesn’t get you high) chemical naturally found in cannabis. CBD has several potential medical uses; however, the hype has so far outweighed the solid evidence.
In the case of tinnitus, there are theoretical reasons why cannabis extracts, especially CBD, might be beneficial. Evidence of effectiveness is not strong. There are a handful of studies, at least one of which has shown some benefit. Pure cannabidiol is safe and may be worth a try. I would point out that not all products sold as CBD are actually CBD, and some of them contain THC. The best way to be sure you’re getting what you want is with a third-party lab analysis (often called a certificate of analysis) showing that you’re getting CBD and not THC, the main psychoactive chemicals in cannabis.