If coffee is the most loved beverage in the world, it is also the most misunderstood, given the conflicting material flooding internet about its impact on our bodies. Now, according to a study published in the journal JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
,coffee, and tea, may actually be good for those with heart rhythm disorders and other heart conditions.
Earlier, patients being treated for heart rhythm disorders were advised to avoid caffeine. However, this study suggests that coffee and tea may be tolerated – and could even help manage an irregular heart rate. A single cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine. It acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and works to block the effects of adenosine — a chemical that causes atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder, causes the heart to beat rapidly and skip beats, and if left untreated, can cause strokes.
How much is too much?
The results suggest that caffeine intake of up to 300 mg per day may be safe for arrhythmic patients, this is equal to about three cups. “There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” said lead author Peter Kistler, Director at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital.
“Many doctors recommend patients with atrial or ventricular arrhythmias avoid caffeinated beverages – particularly coffee – however our extensive review of medical literature suggests this is unfounded,” Kistler added. In meta-analysis of 228,465 participants showed that AFib frequency decreasing by 6% in regular coffee drinkers, and an analysis of 115,993 patients showed a 13% reduced risk.
Another study of 103 post-heart attack patients who received an average of 353 mg of caffeine a day showed improvement in heart rate and no significant arrhythmias — or abnormal heart rhythms, that cause the heart to beat too fast, slow or unevenly.
On the other hand, patients with pre-existing heart conditions who consumed two or more energy drinks — that contains concentrated caffeine — per day reported palpitations within 24 hours.
Is all caffeine good?
According to Kistler, energy drinks are best avoided. “Energy drinks contain caffeine at much higher concentrations than tea or coffee, and can include other compounds, which can trigger arrhythmias. They are still best avoided by patients with pre-existing heart conditions,” he added.