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Mult Scler. 2013 Jan;19(1):53-8. doi: 10.1177/1352458512448108. Epub 2012 May 28.

Caffeine and alcohol intakes have no association with risk of multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, USA.



The association between alcohol and caffeine intakes and risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) is unclear; no prospective studies have examined this relationship.


We examined intakes of alcohol and caffeine in relation to risk of multiple sclerosis.


Intakes of alcohol and caffeine were examined in relation to the risk of MS in two large cohorts of women, the Nurses' Health Study (NHS; 92,275 women followed from 1980 to 2004) and Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II; 95,051 women followed from 1991 to 2005). Their diet was assessed at baseline and every four years thereafter. During the follow-up, 282 cases of MS were confirmed with onset of symptoms after baseline. Twenty-four cases were missing information on alcohol intake, leaving a total of 258 cases for the alcohol analyses.


Neither total alcohol consumption, nor consumption of beer, wine, or liquor was related to MS risk. The multivariable-adjusted pooled relative risk (RR) found by comparing categories of alcohol intake to 0 gm/day was 1.07 (95% CI: 0.32-1.99) for 0.1-4.9 gm/day, 1.01 (0.32-1.99) for 5.0-14.9 gm/day, 1.21 (0.69-2.15) for 15.0-29.9 gm/day, and 0.80 (0.32-1.99) for 30+ gm/day; (p for trend=0.89). Caffeine intake was also not significantly associated with MS risk. The multivariable adjusted pooled RR comparing highest to lowest quintile of caffeine intake was 1.14; 95% CI: 0.79-1.66; p for trend=0.71. Consideration of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee separately also yielded null results.


These results do not support an association between alcohol and caffeine intakes and MS risk.

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