For years I have promoted the positive effects of caffeine. The older mentors I was lucky enough to work with often sipped this brew. Caffeine is making a comeback, even for heart murmurs and atrial fib!
The two places caffeine seems to need caution are: overconsumption with glaucoma as caffeine does raise eye pressure for a short time, and if you get too much in contrast to insufficient alkaline dietary elements like plant foods, then, for some folks it can threaten bone health.
A study presented during a featured poster session at the Heart Rhythm Society 2015 Scientific Sessions followed more than 5000 patients over the age of 65 from 1989 to close to the present. It showed that coffee is okay if you have heart rhythm problems or even AFIB. (Atrial fibrillation)
Scientists from San Francisco, St Louis, and Portland wanted to know: Is caffeine good or bad for folks with atrial or ventricular ectopy. They wondered if the antioxidant properties of dark chocolate, coffee, and tea override rhythm issues.
They found that caffeine in coffee, tea, and chocolate were not linked to worsening heart flutters (PAC or PVC frequency) and in fact, in moderation, helped!
This study looked at caffeine from NATURAL SOURCES—chocolate, coffee, and tea—not SPORT AND ENERGY DRINKS OR THOSE WITH HIGH SUGAR CONTENT.
AFIB IS SCARY. Folks live with the threat of stroke. Often they have been told to avoid caffeine. Now robust research says, well, not true. But of course ALL SCIENTIFC DATA, that can make you crazy as it trends either up or down, should be tempered by how YOU FEEL INDIVIDUALLY AFTER CONSUMING SOMETHING.
YOU ARE THE ULTIMATE LITMUS PAPER, NOT SOME SCIENTIFIC PAPER!
This new research confirms an older 2014 meta-analysis (looking at the trend of a bunch of similar studies) of caffeine risk in patients with atrial fibrillation, which found that REGULAR caffeine consumption may actually “reduce” AF risk.
For those that love that morning cup of Joe, this is “Good news, coffee chariots are coming!”
So… coffee is good
For the heart.
For the brain.
Some studies suggest it protects against a variety of lines of cancer (different cell types).
It’s anti-inflammatory (a bit like a natural food vitamin D).
But… coffee, like all things in this world of duality, can have a shadow side:
It can raise eye pressure (intraocular pressure IOP) and,
Is acidic so don’t over do (like everything else) if you have thinning bones and,
Rinse your mouth with water after drinking to protect tooth enamel.
Hmmm. Common sense rules.
And there you have it.
Dixit S, Stein PK, Dewland TA. Consumption of “healthy” caffeinated products and cardiac ectopy. Heart Rhythm Society 2015 Scientific Sessions; May 13, 2015; Boston, MA.
Cheng M, Hu Z, Lu X, et al. Caffeine intake and atrial fibrillation incidence: Dose response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Canadian J Cardiol 2014:
Carroll AE. More consensus on coffee’s benefits than you might think. New York Times, May 11, 2015.