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Natural Medicine: Is Coffee Good or Bad for You?

I was thrilled to read the National Institutes of Health study that found so many benefits to drinking coffee. What are your thoughts on this?Dr. Michael Murray: My first thought was to chuckle. The impact of many foods on our health is completely individualized. In other words, one person’s food is another person’s poison, and this is certainly the case with coffee. One of the major drawbacks in conventional medical research is that it assumes we are all alike. It’s becoming more and more clear that we aren’t.The Science: Each of us has unique biochemical traits that determine who we are and how we interact with food (and drugs). One of the major determinants of biochemical individuality is a family of enzymes known as the cytochrome P450 enzymes. These play a critical role in metabolizing food components, detoxifying drugs and cancer-causing compounds, and regulating hormones. Differences in the P450 enzymes can explain why some people can smoke without developing lung cancer, or why certain individuals are more susceptible to the harmful effects of pesticides and other toxic chemicals.Differences in …

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