Deaths no higher for coffee lovers with heart disease

The results add to already mixed findings on whether caffeinated coffee is a hazard for people at high risk of cardiovascular problems.

June 13, 2011 08:27
3 minute read.

Coffee . (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

NEW YORK - Women with heart disease who down a few cups of coffee each day tend to live as long as those who avoid the beverage, according to a study.

The results, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, add to already mixed findings on whether caffeinated coffee is a hazard for people at high risk of cardiovascular problems.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Grapevine: coffee and culture
In My Own Write: Ahhhroma!
Cafe culture blooms in West Bank's Ramallah

The study, which followed nearly 12,000 US nurses with a history of heart disease or stroke, found that those who regularly drank caffeinated coffee were no more likely to die than non-coffee drinkers during the study period, which spanned more than 20 years for some participants.

In fact, no link was found between a woman's coffee intake and her risk of death from heart attack, stroke or any other cause -- and this was true of even of women who drank four or more cups of coffee each day.

"Our results suggest that coffee drinking is okay for patients with cardiovascular disease, but it would be desirable to replicate our results in other populations," said lead researcher Esther Lopez-Garcia, of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain.

The results came from the long-running Nurses' Health Study, which began tracking more than 100,000 female nurses in 1976. The researchers focused on 11,697 women who developed heart disease or had a stroke sometime between 1976 and 2002.

Of those women, 62 percent continued to drink caffeinated coffee after their diagnosis.

Overall, 1159 women had died by 2004. That risk was no greater among coffee drinkers than non-drinkers, including women who drank at least four cups a day.

One possibility is that women in relatively worse health might choose to avoid caffeinated coffee, the study authors noted. But they found no evidence that changes in women's coffee intake after their heart complication or stroke explained the findings.

They also accounted for factors like age, weight, high blood pressure and diabetes, and still found no association between coffee consumption and the risk of death.

The findings, Lopez-Garcia said, support the idea that people with heart disease who already drink coffee don't have to give it up.

But she noted that one problem with the current study is that all of the subjects were nurses, so they might not be representative of women with heart disease in general.

The study also can't discount coffee as a possible cause of cardiovascular problems, at least in some people.

"What this study shows is that, in a general population, there's no obvious harm, or benefit, to consuming coffee after a heart attack," said Ahmed El-Sohemy, an associate professor at the University of Toronto who has studied coffee intake and cardiac health.

"What this study doesn't tell us is who might coffee be harmful to, and who might benefit from it."

Some research has linked coffee drinking to increased risks of high blood pressure in people who are naturally slow metabolizers of caffeine. But the reverse pattern has been seen in people who quickly process caffeine -- more coffee, lower heart risks.

Recent studies have pointed to the importance of genetics, El-Sohemy added, cautioning that it's hard to make individual recommendations on coffee intake because of these genetic variations in metabolizing.

"I don't see how any results can be interpreted from studies that don't take this genetic difference into account."

Related Content

Vilnius, Lithuania
August 31, 2014
Travel: Let’s take it slow in Lithuania