Coffee is undeniably the world’s most popular beverage. In the United States, coffee consumption continues to increase. Many people take coffee first thing in the morning to kick start their day. They use coffee as a pick me up for the afternoons, and it is not uncommon for people to enjoy a cup after dinner.
The question is: how much coffee is too much, especially for those at cardiovascular risk? A large new study claims to know the answer.
Several recent studies have suggested that coffee has a number of benefits, including enhancing focus and productivity. Also, many scientists suggest that coffee can help maintain a healthy brain and help increase lifespan and slow down prostate cancer.
However, as with any food or beverage, there is a limit to how much coffee one could consume. Drinking too much coffee can create certain healthcare problems, including headaches, dizziness, and nausea. But the most important area of concern is the possibility that too much coffee could increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Again, one has to ask: how much coffee is too much for the heart? Scientists at the University of South Australia in Adelaide have tried to answer this question in their new study. The findings are published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers found that people with a specific variant of the gene CYP1A2 absorb caffeine substance less efficiently. This can put them at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. During this study, the investigators set out to determine how much coffee would increase the cardiovascular risk of people with and without this genetic variant. They analyzed the data of more than 300,000 people, between the ages 37–73. More than 8,000 of these participants were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.
The researchers determined the per-day level of coffee consumption for each participant, whether they had the genetic variant or not. Their findings showed that even though people without the CYP1A2 genetic variant were able to process caffeine approximately four times faster than those with it, this factor did not affect their risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease. But, their daily level of coffee consumption had an impact on the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study’s co-author Prof. Elina Hyppönen explains that nearly 3 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily around the world. It is thus important to know what is good for your health and what is not. She cautions that it is all about moderation and not over-indulging. Prof. Hyppönen says that most people would agree that too much intake of coffee can lead to irritability and even nausea in some.In addition, there is the risk of high blood pressure, which is a known consequence of excessive caffeine consumption. To maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure, people must limit their coffee intake to less than six cups in twenty-four hours.