Coffee Vs. Heart-Failure & Stroke. Everyone’s Favorite Drink For A Reason?:
We all start out doing things basically from some kind of superstition.
It’s worked before & recommended, so we follow-along without knowing too much about why.
A lot of these guidelines apply to not just the straight-and-narrow path to success,
But also about health of all kinds.
As a clever doctor I know once said about his first freshman lecture in school, “The first thing they tell you is that half of what they are about to teach is wrong. The second thing they tell you is they don’t know which half.”…
The Short Answer:
- There is a possibility we like the food & drink we do because of historical curation.
- We could also like it because of evolutionary instinct.
- Maybe it goes deeper than loving the caramelized goodness of The Maillard Reaction.
- Big Data & Machine Learning are helping us unravel the really-detailed benefits & associations.
- Dr. David Kao Used ML to find that people who drank at least 1 8oz. cup of coffee/day had a lower risk of heart-failure.
- Depending on dosage, this reduction can be from 5-12%.
- Subjects who drank just decaf had an increased risk of heart-failure.
- Caffeine from any source was linked to a lower risk.
- Adding cream & sugar may negate some or all of the benefits.
- Another much larger study found improvements on all-cause mortality, stroke, & cardiovascular-disease.
- The author of that study did MRI-scan follow-ups on 31,000 regular coffee-drinkers.
- Their hearts were all visibly healthier both in size & function.
- Another study in Germany went still deeper into detail.
- They found a special substance called P27 protects the heart under the influence of caffeine.
- It even protected heart-cells from aging and made them quite-possibly younger.
- Perhaps caffeine & P27 do this in other areas of the body, too.
- Doctors have also known that coffee drinkers live longer.
- A prior Stanford study shows caffeine works as an anti-inflammatory; especially in your circulatory-system.
- This property was independently-confirmed in different experiments.
- It seems like Hippocrates was right about food being medicine.
Read on to find out the details…
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So we love coffee, but we don’t know why. -Other than the fact it seems to keep us up and give us a certain type of energy.
And that love affair has stretched all the way back to about 1450.
So perhaps there was something more than just the boost in energy we sensed, even at a very early stage.
Why do we love what we love? The smell of some kind of roasted, caramelized thing undergoing The Maillard Reaction,
From chocolate, to coffee, all the way up to even grilled meats & vegetables?
Is there some intuitive part of us that is much smarter than our conscious, analytical minds?
Could be, because Coffee turns out to be a damn good choice. -Even when the Scientists start unraveling with data what our instincts seemed to know.
As !SCIENCE! hones its investigative powers, we are really starting to zero-in on the tiny mechanics of those assumed reasons.
So in the sexiest recent foray, Dr. David Kao and his team took a huge dataset and went all Machine-Learning on it.
They used the AHA’s PMP to look at a combination of The ARIC Study, The Cardiovascular Heart Study, & The Framingham Heart Study.
This totaled about 21,000 subjects measured across the span of 10 years.
To categorize their intake of coffee, they were put into 4 groups: a) 0 cups of coffee/day, b) 1 cup/day, c) 2 cups/day, d) More than 3 cups/day.
As soon as subjects in the last 3 groups started drinking coffee, their risk of Heart-Failure went down.
-Which is a huge deal, because Heart Disease is the number 1 killer in the developed world.
Now after that, the data gets a little mixed. Which to be fair, is expected, because dietary studies are notoriously-difficult and all 3 were self-reported without a formally-agreed-upon standard coffee being 8 ounces and black.
In the Framingham & CH studies, the range of benefits was between 5 & 12% lower risk of heart-failure per cup of coffee/day, so the average would be about 8.5% reduction.
In the ARIC study, somehow there was no reduction in risk between 0 & 1 cup/day, but then all-of-a-sudden, boom – 30% lower risk of heart-failure for everyone drinking 2 or more cups/day.
And then the interesting kicker comes in. In most of the studies,
1) The consumption of exclusively-decaf coffee was associated with an increased risk of heart-failure.
2) Consumption of caffeine from any source at-all was associated with a lower risk of heart-failure.
Now as you might have guessed from other stuff here on HT with regards to cream & sugar, most of the discussion around heart-health & coffee centers around a standard-sized 8-ounce cup of black coffee.
In-fact, cream & sugar may negate many of the health benefits discussed.
Stranger still is the idea that coffee, especially 3+ cups of black coffee/day can be heart-healthy at-all.
-Because many concerns about it revolve around palpitations, sleep-loss, and elevated blood-pressure.
Now to add even more firepower to the coffee-health argument, there was an even bigger study in a different forum.
Dr. Judit Simon looked at more than 468,000 subjects whose data was collected in the UK Biobank Study.
The stats were an average of about 56 years-old, and just over 1/2 were women.
This massive group was then tracked for an average of 11 years.
They were then sorted into 3 similar groups as above based on consumption.
And Judit’s results showed for the group reporting anywhere from 1/2-3 cups/day:
1) 12% lower risk death from any cause
2) 17% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease
3) 21% lower risk of having a stroke
So even though Dr. Kao’s 21,000 is not a huge % of any population,
Dr. Judit’s numbers on Europeans (who may also be slightly-healthier than the average American) seem to support his pretty-well.
-Especially since they expand on the range of studied-protections that coffee (or caffeine) may provide.
And as-before, these numbers were compared to people who did not drink caffeinated coffee at all.
But then Dr. Judit’s team started digging a little bit deeper…
Because of-course we all don’t just want to mimic the methods of people with great results.
We want to understand too, right?
And so she then found something amazing.
In an 11-year follow-up of almost 31,000 subjects, this fairly-large group had MRI scans done of their chests.
What the researchers found is that in this group, those who were regular coffee-drinkers had hearts that were so much healthier,
It was actually visible on the scans! -Both in size & functionality!
So somehow, it appears the coffee is actually protecting people’s hearts against the ravages of time & age!!!
And so you’d think the story ends there.
But you’d be wrong.
Because over in Germany, another Judith and her teammate Joe looked at the puzzle and found a big piece.
Their work at the University of Dusseldorf shows that consumption of 4 cups/day of coffee (and very likely the caffeine you get from it),
Sets off an amazing, beneficial biochemical chain-reaction.
Because it caused a special substance called p27 to move into heart-cells, takeover & weirdly-repurpose some of the cells inside blood-vessels, and then turn them into little “patches” that both protect the heart and repair damage!
All because coffee (probably caffeine) gets one little protein to move around abit!
-So who knows what else awesome stuff caffeine is getting up to in the rest of the body?
Not only that, but these special p27 benefits accrued even to subjects that were old, pre-diabetic, and even obese!
What’s even more interesting is that the special sauce moved into the mitochondria.
And anyone who’s heard anything about premature-aging from nasty stuff like Ultra-Processed-Food knows that this happens in special parts of the mitochondria called telomeres.
The shorter they get, the more you age-prematurely.
So by that math, could caffeine secretly be something like a “Fountain Of Youth”?…
And now for the final kicker.
For a long time, doctors have noticed a curious thing: Coffee drinkers tend to live longer.
And a little while ago, a team of Stanford researchers delved into that.
What they found after looking into patient histories and bloodwork was:
1) The older a participant was, the higher the level of a protein in their blood called IL-1B
2) The people with the elevated levels of IL-1B had stiffer arteries, higher blood-pressure, a higher level of inflammation, and higher mortality rates
3) People who were routine coffee-drinkers had a significantly-lower level of this protein and inflammation
4) They had higher levels of caffeine and its breakdown products in their blood
4a) One of the protective breakdown products is also one of the most famous compounds found in Chocolate! (theobromine)
So caffeine is looking like a natural systemic-anti-inflammatory.
And things like coffee and dark chocolate are starting to look like Superfoods all over again.
But then David Furman’s team took the tests 2 steps farther.
1) They injected mice with substances that greatly increase the body’s production of IL-1B proteins, and sure-enough their inflammation and hypertension skyrocketed.
2) They took human immune cells in a test medium and surrounded them with stuff that causes inflammation.
2a) Caffeine was then added into the test-dishes, and it stopped those compounds from causing inflammation.
So you see, the results speak for themselves.
Sometimes we get the idea that food/drink-as-supplements/drugs is just some crunchy-granola New Age hokum and BS.
But go out there and try to find any drug (besides Aspirin) that does all the amazing things that coffee & caffeine seem to do, with as few side-effects.
I think it will probably be a long search.
So remember to drink your coffee, your heart might just thank you!
• Sources: Heart.org | ESCardio | HHU | Stanford
• More Coverage: HT-Stanford Caffeine Study
• Source Studies:
•Circulation – Association Between Coffee Intake and Incident Heart Failure Risk, A Machine Learning Analysis of the FHS, the ARIC Study, and the CHS
•Plos.Bio – CDKN1B/p27 is localized in mitochondria and improves respiration-dependent processes in the cardiovascular system—New mode of action for caffeine
•Nature Medicine – Expression of specific inflammasome gene modules stratifies older individuals into two extreme clinical and immunological states