Coffee is a popular beverage consumed worldwide. The main constituent of coffee is caffeine, a natural stimulant that helps you stay alert by stimulating the central nervous system.
Previous studies indicate that caffeine consumption has various health benefits such as offering protection against diabetes and heart disease, improving gut bacteria, and reducing the risk of cancer. However, a recent study suggests that individuals with a risk of cardiovascular disease subconsciously reduce their coffee consumption.
Is caffeine bad for your heart?
While some studies suggest that caffeine consumption can help maintain heart health and blood vessel function, others report the opposite.
A study found that consuming large amounts of coffee regularly contributes to aortic stiffness. Aorta is the largest blood vessel in the human body, carrying blood from the heart.
Factors that influence the impact caffeine has on your heart health include:
- The amount of caffeine consumed
- The rate at which caffeine is cleared out from the body (caffeine metabolism)
- Existing health conditions
Is caffeine consumption genetic?
CYP1A2 is the most commonly researched gene for caffeine metabolism. This gene produces the CYP enzymes that are involved in clearing out caffeine from the body. Some people have an error in this gene, which results in impaired caffeine metabolism. Studies suggest that this leads to an increased risk of heart attacks.
Heart Symptoms May Influence How Much Coffee People Drink
A research study, led by Professor Elina Hyppönen, examined the effect of cardiovascular health on coffee consumption.
The study was conducted using information from 390,435 European ancestry participants, aged 39 to 73 years, taken from the UK Biobank.
Participants reported their regular coffee consumption. The following parameters were also noted:
- Blood pressure measure
- Heart rate
- Cardiovascular symptoms
What Did The Study Observe?
Participants with chest pains, hypertension, or irregular heartbeats were more likely to be non-habitual or decaffeinated coffee drinkers compared to those who did not report such symptoms.
In genetic analyses, a higher resting heart rate was linked with increased chances of an individual being a decaffeinated coffee drinker. Higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures were also associated with lower caffeinated coffee consumption. These causal relationships were supported by consistent evidence from genetic studies.
The Conclusion Of The Study
The findings of the study showed that genetics actively regulates our coffee consumption and protects us from consuming too much. It explains how people subconsciously self-monitor caffeine levels based on how high their blood pressure is, which is likely a result of a protective genetic mechanism.
This implies that someone who consumed high amounts of coffee is likely to be more genetically tolerant to caffeine, as compared to someone who drank less coffee. Conversely, a non-coffee drinker, or an individual who consumes decaffeinated coffee, is more prone to the ill effects of caffeine.
Consuming Caffeine The Safe Way
- Avoid drinking more than 4 cups of coffee per day
- Opt for alternatives with lower caffeine content like tea or cocoa
- Avoid consuming caffeine after midday
- Try different coffee brews to understand your tolerance
- Avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach
- Some studies suggest that caffeine consumption can help maintain heart health, while others report the opposite.
- The CYP1A2 gene is the most commonly researched gene for caffeine metabolism. It produces the CYP enzymes involved in clearing out caffeine from the body. An error in this gene results in impaired caffeine metabolism.
- A recent study was conducted to understand the effect of cardiovascular health on coffee consumption.
- Findings of the study showed that genetics actively regulates coffee consumption. It explains how a protective genetic mechanism enabled people who had high blood pressure and cardio-vascular symptoms to subconsciously self-regulate caffeine intake.
- Limiting caffeine consumption and opting for other low-caffeine alternatives helps maintain safe levels of caffeine consumption.