Many people wonder if they should quit drinking coffee. There are some people who have tried quitting coffee a number of times because they thought drinking it was bad for their health. Some people even thought that too much caffeine puts additional stress on the heart and can contribute to heart problems.
Although there have been mixed thoughts about caffeine over the years, recent studies have shown that coffee lovers can rejoice: there is no reason to panic if you enjoy your morning cup of java. As it turns out, consuming coffee can help reduce the risk for a large number of health issues.
Cup of coffee and heart health
Previous studies have already linked caffeine consumption with lower risks for diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Now, a more recent study has shown that caffeine protects cardiovascular cells from damage through promoting the movement of a regulatory protein into mitochondria.
For those who don’t know, mitochondria are the powerhouses within the cell. Their main function is to produce energy that we can use for everyday function.
Ale-Agha et al. (2018) determined that a protein called p27, known mainly as an inhibitor of the cell cycle, exists in the mitochondria of the major cells of the heart. Interestingly, mitochondrial p27 protects heart muscle cells from damage as well as contributes to their repair. This particular study determined that caffeine is a major contributor to p27’s movement into the mitochondria. Therefore, caffeine positively contributed to the overall health of the heart. Most importantly, the study showed that four or slightly more cups of coffee provides the optimal amount of caffeine in order to reap its benefits. However, other studies suggest a different (in many cases lower) amount of coffee consumption.
The study’s authors also stated that given this new information about caffeine, it could be very beneficial for the health of the elderly population. As it turns out, caffeine improves the mitochondrial capacity of the heart in older people just as much as it does in average-aged adults. If elderly people are already consuming four cups of coffee a day, they should not be told to quit because that intake is contributing positively to their heart health.
Furthermore, pre-diabetic, obese mice and aged mice that were used in the study also experienced similar health benefits, including protection against heart damage.
Ultimately, enhancing mitochondrial p27 can potentially increase longevity in addition to reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, caffeine can be a healthy part of anyone’s healthy living regimen.
This study shows that if you love coffee, then there is no reason not to enjoy it. In fact, it will have a positive impact on your health.
- Ale-Agha, Niloofar & Goy, Christine & Jakobs, Philipp & Spyridopoulos, Ioakim& Gonnissen, Stefanie & Dyballa-Rukes, Nadine & Aufenvenne, Karin& von Ameln, Florian & Zurek, Mark & Spannbrucker, Tim &Eckermann, Olaf & Jakob, Sascha & Gorressen, Simone & Abrams,Marcel & Grandoch, Maria & Fischer, Jens & Köhrer, Karl &Deenen, René & Unfried, Klaus & Haendeler, Judith. (2018). CDKN1B/p27is localized in mitochondria and improves respiration-dependent processes in the cardiovascular system—New mode of action for caffeine. PLOS Biology. 16.e2004408. 10.1371/journal.pbio.2004408.