Coffee may help perk up your blood vessels

coffee

The caffeine in a cup of coffee might help your small blood vessels work better, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013.

A study of 27 healthy adults showed – for the first time – that drinking a cup of caffeinated significantly improved in a finger, which is a measure of how well the inner lining of the body's smaller vessels work. Specifically, participants who drank a cup of caffeinated coffee had a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period compared to those who drank .

"This gives us a clue about how coffee may help improve cardiovascular health," said Masato Tsutsui, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher and a cardiologist and professor in the pharmacology department at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.

The study adds to a growing body of research about coffee, the most widely consumed beverage worldwide. Previous studies showed that drinking coffee is linked to lower risks of dying from heart disease and stroke, and that high doses of caffeine may improve the function of larger arteries.

Study participants were people who did not regularly drink coffee, ranging in age from 22 to 30. On one day, each participant drank one five-ounce cup of either regular or decaffeinated coffee. Then researchers measured finger blood flow with laser Doppler flowmetry, a non-invasive technique for gauging blood circulation on a microscopic level. Two days later, the experiment was repeated with the other type of coffee. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew when they were drinking caffeinated coffee.

The researchers noted blood pressure, heart rate, and vascular resistance levels. They also took blood samples to analyze levels of caffeine and to rule out the role of hormones on blood vessel function.

Compared to decaf, caffeinated coffee slightly raised participants' blood pressure and improved vessel inner lining function. Heart rate levels were the same between the two groups.

It's still unclear how caffeine actually works to improve small blood vessel function, although Tsutsui suggests that may help open and reduce inflammation.

"If we know how the positive effects of coffee work, it could lead to a new treatment strategy for cardiovascular disease in the future," said Tsutsui.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Coffee drinking tied to lower risk of suicide

Jul 25, 2013

Drinking several cups of coffee daily appears to reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent, according to a new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The st ...

Does Greek coffee hold the key to a longer life?

Mar 18, 2013

The answer to longevity may be far simpler than we imagine; it may in fact be right under our noses in the form of a morning caffeine kick. The elderly inhabitants of Ikaria, the Greek island, boast the highest rates of longevity ...

Is there a link between coffee drinking and mortality?

Feb 19, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—A large study of nearly half a million older adults followed for about 12 years revealed a clear trend: as coffee drinking increased, the risk of death decreased. Study author Neal Freedman, PhD, MPH, National ...

Recommended for you

New toilets for India's poor, crime-hit village

21 hours ago

More than 100 new toilets were unveiled Sunday in a poverty-stricken and scandal-hit village in northern India, where fearful and vulnerable women have long been forced to defecate in the open.

Can YouTube save your life?

Aug 29, 2014

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

Aug 29, 2014

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

User comments