“The association between caffeine and reduced risk of heart failure was surprising,” admitted lead author of the study, Dr. David Kao. “Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population as ‘bad’ for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, arterial hypertension, etc. “
However, “the consistent relationship between increased caffeine intake and decreased risk of heart failure overturns this assumption,” said Kao, assistant professor of cardiology and medical director of the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at the Faculty of. medicine from the University of Colorado. . His team published their findings on February 9 in the newspaper Circulation: heart failure.
Still, the results can’t prove cause and effect, and they don’t mean coffee is a substitute for healthy living when it comes to your heart, Kao said.
“There is not yet enough clear evidence to recommend increasing coffee consumption to reduce the risk of heart disease with the same strength and certainty as quitting smoking, losing weight or exercising, ”he said in a press release.
In their study, Kao and colleagues analyzed data from more than 21,000 American adults who participated in three major studies: the Framingham Heart Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, and the Cardiovascular Health Study. The participants were followed for at least 10 years.
In all three studies, drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day was associated with a lower long-term risk of heart failure.
In the Framingham Heart and Cardiovascular Health studies, the risk of heart failure fell from 5% to 12% per cup of coffee each day, compared to no coffee.
The study on the risk of atherosclerosis in communities found that the risk of heart failure did not change with 0 to 1 cup of coffee per day, but was about 30% lower in people who drank at least 2 cups of coffee. per day.
The results for decaffeinated coffee were different. The cardiovascular health study found no link between decaffeinated and heart failure risk, while the Framingham Heart study found that decaffeinated was associated with a significantly higher risk of heart failure.
Further analysis showed that caffeine from all The source appears to be associated with a decreased risk of heart failure, and that caffeine plays at least some role in coffee’s apparent heart benefits, according to the authors.
“While they cannot prove causation, it is intriguing that these three studies suggest that coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of heart failure and that coffee may be part of a healthy diet. ‘it is consumed plain, without added sugar and without dairy products rich in fat. like cream, ”said Penny Kris-Etherton, past chair of the American Heart Association’s Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council executive committee.
“Bottom Line: Enjoy coffee in moderation as part of an overall heart-healthy diet that meets recommendations for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat / fat-free dairy products, and is also low in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars, ”Kris-Etherton advised in the release.
“Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that caffeine is a stimulant and that consuming too much can be problematic – causing nervousness and problems sleeping,” she added.
Two other heart specialists – both unrelated to the new study – weighed in on the results.
Dr. Michael Goyfman heads Clinical Cardiology at the Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in New York. He said the study had a few flaws.
“Coffee consumption has been self-reported, and therefore subject to many inaccuracies,” Goyfman noted. “Also, the amount of coffee has not been standardized. Does one cup mean 8 ounces of coffee or 20 ounces?”
He pointed out that previous studies have shown that too much coffee is linked to a “stiffening” of a key part of the heart’s aorta. On the other hand, numerous studies have shown that America’s favorite morning drink appears to be linked to a lower chance of Parkinson’s disease.
Thus, “until further studies are done to directly answer this question, I would recommend that patients use common sense when it comes to their coffee intake and consult their physician regarding intake limits. specific, ”Goyfman said.
Dr Guy Mintz leads cardiovascular health at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, NY
He largely agreed with Goyfman, saying the new findings show “an interesting association” but are not strong enough to warrant a recommendation to increase your coffee intake.
Mintz noted that there are different types of heart failure, so “what type of heart failure does caffeine affect?” He asked.
“Caffeinated coffee in moderation can be part of a heart-healthy diet without any deleterious effects,” he said, but beyond that, the new study is just “a starting point. For further investigation.
“Patients who don’t drink coffee shouldn’t start,” Mintz believes, “and patients should definitely not start consuming caffeinated supplements like 5-Hour Energy or Red Bull, etc., to reduce their risk of heart failure. “
In the meantime, he said, “research and history must continue.”
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to a healthy heart.
SOURCES: Michael Goyfman, MD, director, clinical cardiology, Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, New York; Guy L. Mintz, MD, director, cardiovascular health and lipidology, Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital of Northwell Health, Manhasset, NY; Circulation: heart failure, press release, February 9, 2021