American scientists have good news for daily coffee drinkers: While doctors often warn about the risks of too much caffeine, new research suggests that the pick-me-up isn’t tied to speeding up your heartbeat or triggering heart palpitations.
U.S. scientists say doctors need to stop cautioning against coffee, tea and chocolate – they don’t tamper with your heartbeat and they could provide heart healthy nourishment.
“Clinical recommendations advising against the regular consumption of caffeinated products to prevent disturbances of the heart’s cardiac rhythm should be reconsidered as we may unnecessarily be discouraging consumption of items like chocolate, coffee and tea that might actually have cardiovascular benefits,” senior author and cardiologist, Dr. Gregory Marcus, said in a statement.
“Given our recent work demonstrating that extra heartbeats can be dangerous, this finding is especially relevant,” he said.
Heart flutters, palpitations or feeling like your heart “skipped” a beat used to be considered relatively harmless. But in recent years, studies have tied these anomalies to conditions like heart failure and heart disease.
Doctors tie caffeine consumption to these abnormalities through studies and trials, but Marcus says the research was performed decades ago. Still, guidelines, such as the American Heart Association’s, urge patients to avoid caffeine if their medical history reveals they deal with extra heartbeats or heart arrhythmia.
For his part, Marcus and his University of California team looked at the health data of 1,388 people, including their heartbeat and heart health. They were about 72 years old and 60 per cent said they’d drink caffeine daily.
(The scientists zeroed in on coffee, tea and chocolate, and didn’t look at data on energy drinks.)
Turns out, there was no differences in heart disturbances even if the patients had a bit of caffeine or plenty of the stimulant.
“Therefore, we are only able to conclude that in general, consuming caffeinated product every day is not associated with having increased ectopy or arrhythmia but cannot specify a particular amount per day,” Marc wrote in his study.
He says his team’s findings are the largest to date to study eating habits and their relation to extra heartbeats.
The American Heart Association says that caffeine has many effects, such as stimulating the central nervous system and affecting the kidneys.
“Whether high caffeine intake increases the risk of coronary heart disease is still under study,” it says on its website, suggesting that current findings are “conflicting.”
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It says one to two cups per day doesn’t seem to be harmful, though.