The Facts About Asthma and Coffee

For more than a decade, researchers have been studying the effects that coffee has on asthma symptoms in a variety of situations. The findings of multiple studies reveal that asthma and coffee seem to have a strong correlation. In fact, one study that relied on data from the Italian National Health Survey confirmed that the more coffee that participants seemed to drink, the lower their incidence of bronchial asthma symptoms (at least within reason). Experts explain that the reason for the asthma and caffeine relationship can be traced back to the fact that caffeine serves as a bronchodilator, meaning that it opens up the airways and reduces breathing symptoms. Researchers also hypothesize that long-term coffee drinking can further increase the benefit - not only in lessening symptoms but possibly also in heading off an asthma attack.

Asthma and Caffeine Benefits

The findings of another study that was recently conducted in the United States and presented at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in May took the research one more step, comparing the effectiveness of caffeine in patients as a method to prevent exercise induced asthma symptoms against the effectiveness of using prescribed asthma medications.

You may be surprised to learn that there wasn't a significance difference between the two treatment options. Whether the participants took a caffeine pill or used their fast-acting inhaler before they hit the gym, they seemed to experience similar benefits.

Asthma and Coffee: A Marriage Made in Heaven?

The experts say that these findings showing the relationship between exercise induced asthma and caffeine could have two-fold significance. First, taking caffeine to prevent or treat asthma may help to reduce long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids, thereby avoiding some of the potential side effects that exist. Second, if you are out and your asthma flares and you don't have your inhaler with you, drinking a cup of coffee may be an important way to nip an attack in the bud.

So if you suffer from asthma and are not overly caffeine sensitive, don't be afraid to drink up.


The National Center for Biotechnology Information

American College of Chest Physicians, CHEST Journal,
Aug. 1988, vol. 94 no. 2 386-389

The American College of Sports Medicine Conference, abstract presented at May, 2009 Conference, Indiana University (2009, June 1). Caffeine Shown As Effective At Reducing Exercise-induced Asthma Symptoms as an Albuterol Inhaler.