Coffee consumption has been linked to a lower risk of some chronic illnesses, including heart disease. Researchers recently found part of the reason why it’s beneficial. The research was conducted at Heinrich-Heine-University and the IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Düsseldorf, Germany.
In an earlier study, the authors discovered that caffeine intake from four cups of coffee improved the function of the endothelium, which is the cells lining blood vessels walls. This effect involved the action of mitochondria, structures in cells that serve as energy powerhouses.
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The new study showed that mitochondria in heart cells contain a protein called p27. The team noted the beneficial effects of p27 included preventing the death of heart muscle cells, stimulating migration of endothelial cells and promoting conversion of fibroblasts into mechanically strong cells containing contractile fibers. All three functions are critically important for the repair of heart muscle after a heart attack.
Another observation was that caffeine intake resulted in the movement of p27 into mitochondria, which led to the benefits. The caffeine aided in preventing heart damage in obese, pre-diabetic and aged mice. This effect occurred at concentrations of caffeine present in four cups of coffee. It’s noteworthy that the new study showed senior adults don’t need to avoid coffee consumption. In fact, they may benefit from it.
“Our results indicate a new mode of action for caffeine, one that promotes protection and repair of heart muscle through the action of mitochondrial p27,” said Judith Haendeler, one of the lead authors. “These results should lead to better strategies for protecting heart muscle from damage, including consideration of coffee consumption or caffeine as an additional dietary factor in the elderly population. Furthermore, enhancing mitochondrial p27 could serve as a potential therapeutic strategy not only in cardiovascular diseases but also in improving healthspan.” The study was published in the journal PLOS Biology.
The Remarkable Health Benefits of Coffee
Aside from reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, drinking coffee has been associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, as well as a lower likelihood of colon, colorectal, breast, endometrial and prostate cancer. The beverage has also been tied to a reduced risk of deaths from all-causes, along with disease-specific causes, including stroke, heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes.
Not all of coffee’s benefits are due to the caffeine content; some effects may stem from it’s rich source of antioxidants. A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found drinking coffee of any variety, including decaffeinated and instant, was inversely associated with death rate: those who drank the most were the least likely to die. A word of caution is needed here. Some people are more susceptible to the adverse effects of coffee, which include heart palpitations, insomnia and nervousness. If you experience these problems with caffeinated coffee, try switching to tea or decaffeinated coffee.
Refrain from taking caffeine pills because too high a dose is dangerous, resulting in serious problems such as seizures or an erratic heartbeat. Instead, get your caffeine from coffee or tea.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.