In a new study from the University of California, San Francisco, researchers found that caffeine doesn’t seem to increase most people’s risk of arrhythmias.
They found no evidence for this broad-based recommendation to avoid coffee or caffeine.
In fact, they found that every additional cup of coffee a person drinks daily might lower their risk of arrhythmia by about 3% on average.
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide, but its properties as a stimulant have prompted many doctors to warn heart patients against drinking java.
In the study, the team analyzed data from more than 386,000 people participating in a long-term British health study.
Of that large group, about 17,000 developed a heart rhythm problem during an average follow-up of 4.5 years.
All participants were asked about their coffee consumption when they entered the study. Researchers compared their response to their likelihood of developing an abnormal heart rhythm down the line.
They found there was no link at all between caffeine and heart rhythm disturbances. There is no evidence on a population level that those who consumed more coffee or those exposed to more caffeine experienced a heightened risk for arrhythmias.
The study also showed caffeine’s potential protective benefits, but researchers warn that the effect was small.
Further research will study exactly how coffee affects the heart, and why it might protect against arrhythmias.
Coffee has anti-inflammatory effects, and it’s well-known that inflammation can contribute to heart rhythm problems, the team says.
It also might be that caffeine motivates some people to be more physically active, which reduces the risk of arrhythmia.
If you care about heart rate health, please read studies about there may be no “normal” resting heart rate and findings of a simple way to reduce irregular heart rhythm: No alcohol drinking.
For more information about heart rate problems, please see recent studies about eating more protein could help reduce heart rhythm disorder in women and results showing the best blood thinner drug for people with irregular heart rate.
The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine. One author of the study is Dr. Gregory Marcus.
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