Is There a Link Between Afib and Caffeine Consumption?
November 10, 2022
Caffeine is a stimulant that many rely on to get on the road in the morning or to keep us awake in the afternoon. For many years, clinicians suspected that the stimulative properties of caffeine would indeed worsen a heart arrhythmia. But recent research has debunked this. A long-term UK study over 12 years with upwards of 400,000 patients showed that caffeine did not affect arrhythmia. Caffeine seemed to have a protective effect. This is critical because we knew that coffee consumption might be protective of the heart, but we weren’t sure if the caffeine or other compounds offered the most benefit.
Some Highlights of the Study Include
- Participants that consumed four or five cups of ground coffee, or two to three cups of instant coffee, showed the most significant reduction in arrhythmias. There was no benefit in the decaffeinated group.
- Coffee drinkers had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than their non-coffee-drinking counterparts.
- All coffee subtypes showed a reduction in all mortality risks. This seems to suggest that other compounds in coffee also have health benefits.
So, Should You Drink More Coffee or Start if You Don’t Usually Drink It?
While these studies show a protective mechanism of coffee, it’s probably not significant enough to use it for therapeutic purposes. This is because caffeine, when not consumed mindfully, can cause other concerns:
- First, caffeine may be associated with poor sleep depending on when you drink your coffee, especially if you consume caffeinated drinks later in the afternoon.
- Caffeine is also a diuretic, which promotes the urine flow out of the body. If you don’t adequately hydrate, drinking caffeine can worsen dehydration.
- Caffeine also stimulates your body and gives you more energy; however, it should not replace the energy you receive from proper diet, exercise, and sleep. In other words, don’t use it as a crutch.
- Last but certainly not least, many caffeinated drinks contain high fat or high sugar additives, which can be detrimental to your diet and weight maintenance.
Of course, we highlight these potential downsides of caffeine because each can lead to conditions that cause cardiovascular disease. So, there may be an indirect cause for potential concern.
Ultimately, your overall health goes a long way to determining whether you will develop Afib and other cardiovascular problems. Maintaining proper health through diet, exercise and sleep is a great way to minimize the risk of Afib and other arrhythmias while feeling better day in and day out.
- David Chieng, Rodrigo Canovas, Louise Segan, Hariharan Sugumar, Aleksandr Voskoboinik, Sandeep Prabhu, Liang Han Ling, Geoffrey Lee, Joseph B Morton, David M Kaye, Jonathan M Kalman, Peter M Kistler, The impact of coffee subtypes on incident cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, and mortality: long-term outcomes from the UK Biobank, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2022;, zwac189, https://doi.org/10.1093/eurjpc/zwac189