An examination of the coffee consumption habits of nearly 400,000 people suggests that these habits are largely motivated by a person’s cardiovascular health.
Data from a large population database showed that people with essentials hypertension, angina pectorisor cardiac arrhythmias drank less coffee than people who did not have any of these conditions. When they drank coffee, they used to decaffeinate themselves.
The researchers, led by Elina Hyppönen, PhD, director of the Australian Center for Precision Health at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, say that this predilection to avoid coffee, which is known to cause nervousness and heart palpitations, is based on genetics.
“If your body tells you not to drink that extra cup of coffee, there’s probably a reason why,” Hyppönen said. theheart.org | Cardiology Medscape.
The study was published online at the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“People drink coffee as a picker when they feel tired, or because it tastes good or simply because it’s part of their daily routine, but what we don’t recognize is that people unconsciously self-regulate their safety levels. caffeine depending on your high blood pressure, and is probably the result of a genetic protective mechanism, and that means someone who drinks a lot of coffee is probably more genetically tolerant to caffeine compared to someone who drinks very little. ” dir Hyppönen.
“Furthermore, we have learned from previous research that when people feel bad, they tend to drink less coffee. This type of phenomenon, where the disease drives the behavior, is called reverse causation,” Hyppönen said.
For this analysis, she and her team used information on 390,435 individuals of European descent from the UK Biobank, a large epidemiological database. Regular coffee consumption was reported and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) and heart rate at baseline were measured. The authors noted that cardiovascular symptoms at baseline were collected from hospital diagnoses, primary care records, and / or self-report.
To analyze the relationship between systolic BP, diastolic BP, and heart rate with coffee consumption, they used a strategy called Mendelian randomization that allows the use of genetic information, such as variants that reflect higher blood pressure and heart rate, to provide evidence of a causal association. .
The results showed that participants with essential hypertension, angina, or arrhythmia were “more likely to drink less caffeinated coffee and to drink unusual or decaffeinated coffees compared with those who did not report related symptoms,” the authors write.
Those with higher systolic and diastolic BP based on their genetics tend to drink less caffeinated coffee at baseline, “with consistent genetic evidence to support a causal explanation in all methods,” they noted.
They also found that those people who had a higher resting heart rate because of their genes were more likely to choose decaffeinated coffee.
“These results have two important implications,” Hyppönen said. “First, they show that our bodies can regulate behavior in ways we may not realize and that if something doesn’t look right to us, there’s probably a reason why.
“Second, our results show that our state of health regulates in part the amount of coffee we drink. This is important, because when disease drives behavior, it can lead to misleading health associations in observational studies and, of course, “In fact, they can create a false impression on health. Benefits if the group of people who do not drink coffee also includes more people who are ill.”
For now, doctors can tell their patients that this study provides an explanation for why research on the health effects of regular coffee consumption has been conflicting, Hyppönen said.
“Our study also highlights the uncertainty underlying the health benefits of coffee, but at the same time gives a positive message about our body’s ability to regulate our level of coffee consumption. in a way that helps us avoid adverse effects. “
“The most common symptoms of excessive coffee consumption are rapid heart palpitations and heartbeats, also known as tachycardia,” said Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director of New York University’s Women’s Heart Program (NYU Langone Health), in New York City. theheart.org | Cardiology Medscape.
“This study was designed to see if heart symptoms affect coffee consumption and showed that people with hypertension, angina, a history of arrhythmias, and poor health are usually consumers of decaffeinated coffee or non-coffee drinkers.” said Goldberg.
“People naturally alter their coffee intake based on blood pressure and symptoms of palpitations and / or fast heart rate,” he said.
The results also suggest that “we cannot infer health benefits or harms based on available studies on coffee,” Goldberg added.
The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia. Hyppönen and Goldberg have not disclosed any relevant financial relationship.
I’m J Clin Nutr. Published online March 12, 2021. Summary