Last year I wrote an article for fellow coffee and tea lovers, explaining the positive value of caffeine for brain health (reducing dementia risk and progression) and even skin promoting properties (decreasing the incidence of basal cell carcinoma!)
But many people still shy away from caffeine because of concerns over its effect on the heart.
Atrial fibrillation is extremely common, affecting up to 1 in every 4 people over a lifetime… and many of these patients are told not to consume caffeine because of potential effects on the heart.
This misconception might be doing more harm than good, as caffeine has now been shown to have a protective effect on the heart, decreasing arrhythmia occurrences, decreasing severity of an arrhythmia, and decreasing the development of atrial fibrillation.
Here are the specifics from the latest study:
On January 6, 2014, the Canadian Journal of Cardiology published the results of a study that says caffeine is not only safe for the heart, but that it actually decreases risk of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and has no effect on the heart, even for people with active arrhythmias.
In fact, the authors conclude that habitual caffeine consumption may actually reduce AF risk because of its antifibrosis properties… promoting the development of caffeine “as an agent for preventing AF,” authors Cheng et al write.
This is comforting news for many at risk heart patients, who have been told in the past to steer clear of coffee and other caffeinated beverages/foods such as tea and chocolate.
- This medical study was a huge meta-analysis looking at several large studies and included almost a quarter million study participants (228,465 participants.)
- Three of these studies were done in the US, two in Sweden, and one in Denmark.
- These studies followed the participants for 4 – 25 years, with an average age of 53 – 63 years old and various caffeine intake levels.
What the researchers found was that there was actually an inverse relationship between the amount of caffeine consumed and the risk of developing Afib… the more caffeine, the lower the risk, with up to an 11% decrease in Afib risk at lower levels of caffeine intake, and up to a 16% reduction of Afib for higher doses of caffeine.
The authors show that caffeine did not induce EKG changes: no change in P-wave, PR intervals, QRS duration, QT interval, RR interval… and did not increase the occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias, did not induce an arrhythmia, and did not increase the severity of an arrhythmia even for patients who already had a clinical ventricular arrhythmia.
They go further to suggest that habitual caffeine consumption may actually offer a moderate protective effect against AF as well as having a possible reduction in acute arrhythmias.
This study should be incredibly reassuring to folks who enjoy their cup of coffee and were concerned about its effects on the heart, as well as for those who were interested in using caffeine to decrease their Alzheimer’s and skin cancer risk.
Just wanted to share the news in case you were feeling guilty about your love of a morning cup of coffee or an afternoon cup of tea.
Enjoy that coffee today my friends, I’m clinking my latte with yours this morning! Cheers!