There is not enough evidence that excessive coffee consumption causes heart arrhythmias, say cardiologists.
In the midst of the deepest sleep, a scream. The sheets feel heavy on the body. Opening your eyes in fright is the least of it. Turns out it was just the alarm clock, with a lethal sentence: yes, it’s Monday again. Getting out of bed seems to be a cosmic feat. After going to the bathroom, the body asks for it: a cup of warm coffee is all that matters.
The first one sounds like a fantastic way to start the week. The second feels like a routine, almost mechanical. The third is already heavy, but how good it feels. The myths surrounding “drinking too much coffee” are many. What if it disrupts sleep hygiene, causes hair loss, or damages the heart? Although caffeine stimulates the body to be more alert, science has a concrete answer to the question of coffee and cardiac arrhythmia.
With cream, sugar and no arrhythmia
According to a recent study from the University of California at San Francisco, there is no link between coffee consumption and heart arrhythmias. On the contrary, the popular belief that caffeine derails the heart rate is false, according to Gregory Marcus, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the same institution.
Although his patients come with the recommendation to give up the taste of morning coffee, the expert asserts that this is not necessary. On the contrary, Marcus and his colleagues are convinced that these tips are simply unnecessary, according to The Washington Post.
This conclusion was drawn from a sample of more than 380 thousand people, in which high coffee drinking was not associated to an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias. According to the results published in JAMA Internal Medicine , no lack of ability of the participants evaluated to complete the caffeine metabolic process was discovered..
A very complicated drug?
Marcus is certain that “the general prohibition of coffee or caffeine in patients with cardiac arrhythmias […] is probably not appropriate.” Other colleagues, however, are not so convinced. Daniel Cantillon , deputy section head for Cardiac Electrophysiology and pacemakers at Cleveland Clinic, expressed reservations about the study’s findings.
In his experience, caffeine is “a very complicated drug,” even though he did not participate in the study. The expert believes that it is a very powerful stimulant for the nervous system. On the cardiovascular level, however, he believes it is relatively weak. Nevertheless, Cantillon points out that excessive consumption can trigger other reactions that affect the heart balance.
In contrast, researchers at the University of California San Francisco say that patients with cardiac arrhythmias are more likely to be genetic. Blaming coffee for the condition is risky in his view. So far, the study of a large population has not been able to prove in any case that coffee causes cardiac arrhythmias.