Friday, 20 Apr 2018
Health

Does coffee make your heart beat?

The rumor persists that coffee harms the heart’s rhythm. In fact, the opposite is true. © Antonioguillem – Fotolia.com

Tue April 17, 2018

Many people are of the opinion that coffee in them leads to heart racing or the heart gets out of rhythm. A recent review, however, found no evidence that caffeine causes cardiac arrhythmias – at least not in moderate amounts.
Up to three cups of coffee a day do not seem to hurt the heart rhythm, they could even have a protective effect. This is the result of a review published in the JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology journal. As the studies showed, coffee drinkers were at risk for atrial fibrillation Researchers around Peter Kistler from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, report. The scientists also found no influence of caffeine ventricular arrhythmias that arise in the heart chambers. Up to 500 milligrams of caffeine per day have not increased either the strength or the frequency of this type of cardiac arrhythmia, the researchers said. This corresponds to about five cups of coffee. Only two studies have shown a negative effect in patients after a heart attack, but only at nine to ten cups of coffee per day. A single cup of coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine and stimulates the central nervous system. Once in the body, caffeine inhibits the effect of adenosine, a substance that favors atrial fibrillation. Caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee or tea could, in the long term, have a positive influence on the heart rhythm because of their antioxidant effect and as an adversary of adenosine, says Kistler. However, the scientists advise people with heart disease to stop using caffeine-containing energy drinks. An energy drink can contain between 160 and 500 milligrams of concentrated caffeine. Three-quarters of heart patients who consumed two or more of these drinks per day had tachycardia within 24 hours. For people with pre-existing cardiac arrhythmias, the researchers consider the studies to be 300 milligrams of caffeine safe. Nonetheless, every person can react differently to caffeine. Whoever observes a temporal connection between coffee drinking and cardiac arrhythmias should therefore refrain from doing so. HH
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