Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Virtues of Coffee For Improving Endothelial Function

I had always assumed that because caffeine raises blood pressure, that it must be bad for your heart.  Curiously, it does some good for endothelial function.  From November 20, 2013 WebMD:
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Coffee seems to offer a mysterious benefit to heart health -- one that doctors have been at pains to explain.
Now, a small, new study from Japan suggests that the caffeine in a cup of coffee might help your small blood vessels work better, which could ease strain on theheart.
A cup of caffeinated coffee caused a 30 percent increase in blood flow through the small vessels of people's fingertips, compared with a cup of decaf, according to the research, which is scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Dallas.
These microvessels regulate the ease with which blood flows through the circulatory system and the body's tissues, said lead researcher Dr. Masato Tsutsui, a cardiologist and professor in the pharmacology department at the University of the Ryukyus, in Okinawa.
Apparently, there is quite a bit of research demonstrating "an association between coffee drinking and lower risk of heart attackheart disease and stroke...."  I don't drink a lot of coffee, but I do drink tea in the mornings.  This gives me some hope.  The article includes this astonishing piece of information:
Tsutsui pointed to a landmark U.S. National Institutes of Health study that showed that, overall, drinking six or more cups of coffee a day reduced men's risk of early death by 10 percent and women's risk by 15 percent.
My mother used to drink that much coffee a day when she worked at the Malibu branch of the Los Angeles County library system.  And she just celebrated her 97th birthday.

1 comment:

  1. Given the difficulty of accounting for confounders, I tend to dismiss any epidemiological study that shows a relative risk as low as 15%.