The University of South Australia’s (UniSA) has revealed that drinking six or more coffees a day can increase the risk of heart disease up to 22 per cent.
According to the Heart Foundation cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death, with one person dying from the disease every 12 minutes.
UniSA Researchers Dr Ang Zhou and Professor Elina Hyppönen of the Australian Centre for Precision Health say its new research confirms the point at which excess caffeine can cause high blood pressure, a precursor to heart disease.
This is the first time a limit has been placed on a safe coffee consumption and cardiovascular health.
“Coffee is the most commonly consumed stimulant in the world – it wakes us up, boosts our energy, and helps us focus – but people are always asking how much is too?” says Elina.
“Most people would agree that if you drink a lot of coffee, you might feel a little jittery, irritable or perhaps even nauseas – that’s because caffeine helps your body work fast and harder, but it is also likely to suggest that you may have reached you limit for the time being.
Researchers say the risk of cardiovascular disease also increases with high blood pressure, a known consequence of excess caffeine consumption.
“In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day – based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk,” says Elina.
Using United Kingdom’s Biobank research and data, UniSA studied more than 347,000 participants aged 37 to 73 years. The study explores the ability of the caffeine-metabolising gene to better process caffeine and identify increased risks of cardiovascular disease in line with coffee consumption and genetic variations.
Elina says that carriers of the fast-processing gene are four times quicker at metabolising caffeine. The research doesn’t support the belief that people could safely consume more caffeine, more frequently, without health effects.
“An estimated three billion cups of coffee are enjoyed every day around the world,” says Elina. “Knowing the limits of what’s good for you and what’s not is imperative. As with many things, it’s all about moderation, overindulge and your health will pay for it.”