New research from Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in the US, has found a link between caffeine and reduced rates of abnormal heart beats (arrhythmias).
Interestingly, the findings – published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology – go against conventional medical advice to steer clear of caffeinated drinks for people with arrhythmias.
“There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” said Dr Peter Kistler, director of electrophysiology at the institute.
“Our extensive review of the medical literature suggests this is not the case.”
How was the discovery made?
The researchers looked at 11 vast international studies on 360,000 people. It found caffeine played absolutely no role in affecting ventricular arrhythmias.
It also discovered that having up to 300mg of caffeine a day (around three cups of coffee) could be safe for people with abnormal heart rhythms.
“Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may have long term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,” Kistler said.
“In numerous population-based studies, patients who regularly consume coffee and tea at moderate levels have a lower lifetime risk of developing heart rhythm problems and possibly improved survival.”
It’s worth noting the researchers said people with heart conditions should steer clear of caffeinated energy drinks.