Journal

Caffeine’s Effects on Heart Health

July 26, 2022

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Over the years, there have been plenty of debates regarding the effects caffeine has on heart health. Is it good on the heart? Hard on the heart? Ultimately, like most things, there are a few schools of thought and conflicting studies. Let’s explore.

Caffeine Affects Hydration Levels

Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes more frequent urination. Because of this, it does cause loss of body water which impacts hydration levels. And hydration certainly impacts heart health. And while dehydration caused by caffeine is actually pretty rare,1 it can happen. It's imperative for overall health that you maintain proper hydration levels. To do this, we recommend following each caffeinated beverage with a full glass of water. It’s also important to understand your own body’s hydration requirements and to follow them as best you can.

Does Caffeine Negatively Impact Heart Health?

Because caffeine does tend to increase heart rate soon after consumption, there have been plenty of theories that it could wreak havoc on the heart. Especially in those who already have higher heart rates or who suffer from arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms). Even today, study results are still a bit conflicting. However, it seems that light to moderate consumption (between one and two cups per day) is not detrimental to the cardiovascular system. And some caffeinated beverages can actually improve heart health.

While the jury is still out regarding the correlation between caffeine and heart health, caffeine can have other side effects which can trickle into heart health. Some of these side effects include:

Because of this, it's important to consume caffeine in moderation. You can use Cardiogram to better gauge how caffeine impacts you directly. (See below).

Coffee and Heart Health?

Curious about the effects of coffee specifically? Then you might be happy to know that overall, coffee is beneficial for heart health. It's been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, including heart failure3. A recent study, released by the American College of Cardiology, also shows that coffee is actually favorable for cardiovascular health, with two to three cups yielding the greatest results.2 This study demonstrated that coffee consumption not only lowers one’s risk of heart disease and other arrhythmias, but it can also increase life expectancy. (Just remember to follow each cup with water).

Again, just because coffee is shown to be beneficial for heart health doesn't mean it's good for all bodily systems. Our body is all connected. So, what negatively impacts one area will ripple out to the rest of the body. Because of this, we find that drinking coffee in moderation is still the best approach.

Using Cardiogram to Monitor Caffeine's Effects

Every body is different. And the way that your heart responds to caffeine will naturally differ from that of your neighbor.  So, while it's helpful to understand the correlation between caffeine and heart health at large, understanding how caffeine affects your heart specifically is most important. Your Cardiogram app can help with that:

Tagging: Begin by tagging caffeine consumption each day and see what your heart does directly during and shortly after intake. (You’ll likely notice a spike). Then, if you want to see how your heart responds to caffeine over a longer period, like throughout the course of the day, choose a day or more to forego caffeine. Tag these days as well to easily keep track of this “self-study.” And be sure to take notes in your app of any differences you find in your stats compared to caffeinated days.

Habits: If you're used to drinking caffeine throughout the day and find that you suffer from insomnia, enroll in our "No Coffee After 2pm" habit. Here, you can keep track of your commitment. And Cardiogram will be your accountability buddy.

Resources 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/caffeinated-drinks/faq-20057965

https://www.acc.org/About-ACC/Press-Releases/2022/03/23/17/55/Good-News-for-Coffee-Lovers-Daily-Coffee-May-Benefit-the-Heart

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/9-reasons-why-the-right-amount-of-coffee-is-good-for-you