More coffee = less AMR?

This one is for lovers of the brown stuff (no, the other brown stuff). I was taken by a large impressive epi study published in AIM showing that coffee consumption is associated with reduced all-cause mortality. Part of this seems to be tied up in a modified inflammatory response. Whilst the study didn’t mention infection specifically, clearly infection and inflammation are closely linked. So, this got me to asking whether anybody has looked at coffee consumption and infection / AMR outcomes?

The answer is, there’s not a lot out there. I found an interesting 2011 study (not exactly hot off the press) showing that tea or coffee consumption is associated with reduced MRSA nasal colonisation. The study re-evaluated the NHANES data set (a large, nationally-representative US database) finding that tea or coffee consumption halved the risk of MRSA nasal colonisation. In all of these large epi studies, I worry that it is a grand case of correlation not causation – what else is co-correlated with coffee consumption (socio-economic and cultural factors). Still, the study is compelling, and certainly gets me thinking about the possible mechanism. Whilst tea and coffee do have direct antimicrobial properties, we don’t (often) drink through our noses, so I wonder whether something more complex is going on. The authors suggest that reduced uptake of iron associated with tea and coffee drinking may be the cause, since it is a requirement for S. aureus growth. Or, could it be that this is related to changes in the gut microbiome? This is a more compelling idea, and could suggest something more fundamental in the context of AMR.

Anybody feel a left-field grant application coming on?

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