Visit our Re-post guidelines
Intake of coffee and other foods that contain chlorogenic acids has an inverse association with obesity-related chronic diseases. New evidence also shows that these phenolic compounds may also reduce the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and accounts for more than 1 out of 10 cancer diagnoses each year with mortality rates being higher in less developed regions.[i],[ii] The risk factors for breast cancer range from hormonal to reproductive to demographic to lifestyle choices, and diagnosis of this disease is on the rise with annual deaths estimated at nearly 627,000 in 2018.[iii],[iv],[v]
Given these sobering statistics, researchers have long searched for possible drug therapies and natural remedies to slow the progression and occurrence of breast cancer. Among possible therapeutic compounds, scientists have closely studied the impact of chlorogenic acids present in coffee, fruits and vegetables on breast cancer risk.
Chlorogenic Acids May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer
Chlorogenic acids are a family of polyphenols formed between caffeic and quinic acids that boast a myriad of health benefits and are abundant in coffee beans.[vi] These polyphenolic compounds are linked to a reduction in the risk of various chronic diseases, especially obesity-related diseases, and recent research has revealed that chlorogenic acids may also reduce the incidence of breast cancer among postmenopausal women.[vii]
Researchers examined the effect of hydroxycinnamic acids, which include chlorogenic acids, in a study conducted among 10,812 middle-aged women, over an average of 11.8 years.[viii] Each woman reported her daily food intake in a survey, and researchers calculated the amount of chlorogenic acid consumed based on self-reported diet.
During the study, 101 cases of breast cancer were confirmed among the women, and researchers found that hydroxycinnamic acid consumption, especially from chlorogenic acid, was associated with a reduced rate of breast cancer.[ix]
Additional studies have confirmed these results.[x] Multiple research studies have found that chlorogenic acids act as a suppressor of specific members of the miR-17 family, a group of short RNAs involved in the regulation of gene expression that plays a role in breast cancer progression and recurrence.[xi],[xii]
In short, researchers have determined that a higher intake of these polyphenols may be an important step in the therapeutic treatment and prevention of one of the world's most prevalent and deadliest cancers in women.[xiii]
Best Sources of Chlorogenic Acids
The total amount of chlorogenic acids present in various foods and beverages may vary based on preparation methods. For example, coffee is a well-known source of these polyphenols, yet not all coffee contains the same amount of these antioxidative compounds.
Green coffee beans have the highest amount of chlorogenic acids, but roasting practices, washing and drying procedures, growing methods and even the way the coffee is brewed may all impact how much chlorogenic acids remain in a cup of coffee, as roasting and high heat seem to cause a degeneration of the chlorogenic acids naturally found in many coffee beans.[xiv],[xv],[xvi]
Researchers continue to investigate the exact amounts of chlorogenic acids needed to effectively reduce cancer and the processing methods best suited for optimal polyphenolic content. In the meantime, chlorogenic acids are found in abundance in the following foods:[xvii]
- Green and processed coffee beans
- Sweet potatoes
- Kuding tea
- Honeysuckle flower
- Various herbs
Additional Benefits of Chlorogenic Acids and Coffee
Chlorogenic acids found in fruits, vegetables, coffee and herbs have been studied for their positive effect on the following conditions:
- Cardiovascular diseases. High amounts of coffee consumption (3 to 4 cups daily) is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease occurrence, and chlorogenic acids may decrease LDL cholesterol levels.[xviii],[xix]
- Diabetes. Chlorogenic acids stimulate glucose uptake and improve adiponectin receptor signaling pathways, improving kidney function in diabetic patients. These changes may explain the improved blood glucose levels Type 2 diabetic patients often experience after drinking coffee.[xx],[xxi]
- Inflammation and oxidative stress. Both in vitro and in vivo studies have indicated that chlorogenic acids have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that alleviate oxidative stress in a variety of diseases, thanks to their ability to down-regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines.[xxii]
- Glucose and lipid metabolism. In vivo studies have suggested that chlorogenic acids can help regulate the metabolism of glucose and lipids in the body and may be capable of preventing conditions like obesity and metabolic syndrome through the regulation of these metabolisms.[xxiii]
- Hepatic steatosis. Hepatic steatosis is an accumulation of fat in the liver and can lead to hepatic disorders like Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and obesity. Chlorogenic acids have been shown to block the development of diet-induced obesity and curb hepatic steatosis.[xxiv]
- Cancer. In addition to breast cancer, chlorogenic acids have been studied for their positive effects on the prevention and treatment of several cancers, including oral, liver, colon and lung cancers.[xxv],[xxvi],[xxvii],[xxviii]
Researchers postulate that a diet high in these acids can significantly reduce or ameliorate symptoms associated with these diseases, as well as the risk of the diseases themselves. As the cancer and cardiovascular disease epidemics grow, research around these common and affordable substances becomes increasingly important.
[v] CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians September 12, 2018 https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21492