Drinking six cups of coffee a day is the limit as more than that will increase the risk of heart disease by 22 percent.
Many of us start our morning with a cup of black coffee, cappuccino, or latte.
In recent years, though, drinking coffee has attracted lots of attention in relation to its positive or negative health effects, including the present study from the University of South Australia.
Dr Ang Zhou and Professor Elina Hyppönen in their study looked into the level of coffee and its negative impact on health.
They found that high amounts of caffeine is bad for the heart, suggesting a 22 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease when having six cups of coffee or more each day.
This is a first study that suggests an upper limit on drinking coffee in relation to human heart health.
Professor Hyppönen, the study’s co-author, said:
“Coffee is the most commonly consumed stimulant in the world – it wakes us up, boosts our energy and helps us focus – but people are always asking ‘How much caffeine is too much?’
Most people would agree that if you drink a lot of coffee, you might feel jittery, irritable or perhaps even nauseas – that’s because caffeine helps your body work faster and harder, but it is also likely to suggest that you may have reached your limit for the time being.
We also know that risk of cardiovascular disease increases with high blood pressure, a known consequence of excess caffeine consumption.
In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day – based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk.”
This study looked at data from nearly 350,000 participants, to examine the ability of the CYP1A2 gene to help metabolise caffeine.
This helped them to identify what levels of coffee will cause high blood pressure and so increase the odds of cardiovascular disease.
They also checked if genetic variations could help some people to breakdown caffeine faster than others and if this can help these individuals to consume more coffee.
Professor Hyppönen explained:
“Despite carriers of the fast-processing gene variation being four times quicker at metabolising caffeine, the research does not support the belief that these people could safely consume more caffeine, more frequently, without detrimental health effects.
An estimated three billion cups of coffee are enjoyed every day around the world.
Knowing the limits of what’s good for you and what’s not is imperative.
As with many things, it’s all about moderation; overindulge and your health will pay for it.”
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Zhou et al., 2019).