Why does coffee make heart beat faster?

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More than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world each year, making coffee one of the world's most popular substances. Researchers, however, have different takes on coffee, including its impact on cardiovascular health.

Coffee contains caffeine, a brain stimulant considered legal in all countries. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, making the brain alert and active. Some coffee drinkers, however, observe that coffee causes palpitation, where heart beats faster than usual.

Recent studies, particularly those sponsored by beverage companies, try to ignore the impact of coffee on heart palpitations. In fact, they suggest the opposite—that coffee is good for cardiovascular health.

While there are no conclusive evidence linking coffee to heart problems, there is a direct link between drinking coffee to heart palpitations to some people, which cannot be denied or explained by science.

Caffeine, like any drug or agent, could be helpful to some, but not to everyone. It has side effects on some people, like palpitations, dizziness or even loss of consciousness.

Coffee is particularly great in keeping people awake. Some artists, writers and athletes swear that coffee help them become better in their profession.

A study conducted by Brazilian researchers and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that coffee may even protect the heart. Brazil is the world's largest coffee producer, followed by Vietnam and Colombia.

The study by researchers from the University of São Paulo in Brazil found that drinking at least three cups of coffee every day may lower the risk of atherosclerosis—a condition caused by an accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Plaque comprises a number of substances found in the blood, including calcium.

The Brazilian scientists took dietary information and Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) readings from over 4,400 study participants and found that those who drank larger amounts of coffee had a lower CAC reading, which meant they had less calcium deposits in their arteries.

“In our research, we found that habitual consumption of more than three cups a day of coffee decreased odds of coronary calcification,” one of the researchers was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, researcher at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia also believe that caffeine could help protect against deadly heart problems.

Another 2016 study also found that regular caffeine consumption was not causing dangerous palpitation. The 12-month study led by Dr. Gregory Marcus of the University of California San Francisco included nearly 1,400 healthy people whose coffee, tea and chocolate consumption was assessed. They also wore a portable device that monitored their heart rhythm for 24 hours.

About 61 percent of the participants consumed more than one of the caffeinated products a day. Those who consumed higher amounts of the products didn't have extra heartbeats, the results showed.

In 2010, a Kaiser Permanente study of 130,054 adults in California tested the effects of coffee drinking and found that those who drank coffee four times or more per day were 18 percent less likely to experience an irregular heartbeat than those who did not drink coffee at all.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concluded that caffeine, in moderate daily doses of ∼300 mg, or ∼3 cups of coffee, appears to be safe and harmless for healthy adults. “Conversely, ingesting 10 times that amount of caffeine in a short period could be lethal. Moderation, tending toward 2 or 3 to as much as 4 cups a day if tolerated, seems a reasonable suggestion,” it said.

Despite the results of these studies, some coffee drinkers develop symptoms such as extra heart beats or palpitations, nervousness and insomnia immediately after consuming coffee.

Scientists agree that the health risks of heavy caffeine consumption requires additional research.

While coffee causes palpitation among some people, it is observed that green tea, which also contains caffeine, does not cause the same symptom as much. However, this is not true to everybody and is not supported by conclusive evidence.

Coffee or tea drinkers should excercise personal caution and judgment to determine the impact of any agent or substance they consume on their health and not fully rely on results of studies which could be sponsored by a company, a business or an industry.

24 April 2018

 

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