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Caffeine good for some ageing hearts

Drinking caffeinated beverages on a regular basis may provide significant protection against death from heart disease in the elderly who have normal levels of blood pressure.

Caffeine good for some ageing hearts

Drinking caffeinated beverages on a regular basis may provide significant protection against death from heart disease in the elderly who have normal BP (blood pressure) levels. Coffee may induce a healthy rise in BP that counteracts the drop in BP that occurs after a meal, a phenomenon that becomes more pronounced as people age. Researchers from the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, USA, studied 6,594 adults and among these, 426 died of heart disease during a 9-year period. For subjects 65 years of age or older, the researchers found that greater daily consumption of caffeinated beverages was associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease. This acted in a dose-response fashion - the higher the caffeine level, the lower the risk, and vise versa. People who consumed four or more servings of caffeinated beverages daily had a 53-percent lower risk of death from heart disease compared with those who consumed less than half a serving daily. Subjects who consumed two to four servings per day had a 32-percent lower risk of dying from heart disease. Caffeinated ground coffee and caffeinated instant coffee, both of which have relatively large amounts of caffeine per serving, were the only specific beverages associated with a statistically significant protective effect. This apparent protective effect of caffeinated coffee consumption was not seen in people with very high BP or those who were younger than 65 years of age. As mentioned, caffeine may protect against heart disease death in the elderly by preventing a decline in blood pressure after meals, a phenomenon that becomes increasingly more pronounced with age. If confirmed, the above findings could have important ramifications, given that coffee is widely consumed and heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the elderly.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
February 2007
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